Incorporating sociocultural phenomena into ecosystem-service valuation: The importance of critical pluralism

In 2013, the Ecosystem Services supporting Urbanized Regions (ESUR) IGERT program at Portland State University hosted the Third Conference for Sustainability IGERTs (C4SI3). This was a great (and fun!) conference/workshop that brought together graduate students and early career IGERT alums to exchange ideas around sustainability, ecosystem services, and interdisciplinary research and education.

C4SI3 spawned many collaborations and projects - one of which was a group spearheaded by Dr. Carena van Riper. Our project investigated how less tangible, nonmaterial values shape management and stakeholder decisions. We developed a conceptual framework that characterizes a sociocultural phenomena rooted in key social science disciplines that are currently underrepresented in the ecosystem-services literature. Our research discusses this framework relative to three case studies, and ends with a series of questions posed to researchers and practitioners in the area of ecosystem services.

Our work was published in BioScience, and can be found here: