Governance of ecosystem services at the societal level is oriented towards the achievement of normative objectives, such as e.g. economic welfare, intergenerational justice, environmental justice, etc. Economics – as the scientific method of analysing trade-offs – can be helpful (and may even be indispensable) for assessing the tradeoffs between achieving different normative objectives of equal societal rank, e.g. economic welfare and environmental justice, or intergenerational and intragenerational justice.
Economic analysis can delineate the “opportunity set” of politics with respect to given normative objectives, i.e. it can describe which outcomes are feasible in achieving the objectives in a given context, and which are not. It can distinguish efficient from inefficient uses of policy instruments. It can identify the “opportunity cost” of attaining one normative objective to a higher degree, in terms of less achievement of another objective.
The ecology and conservation of a seasonally dry tropical forest in South America
The tangled evolutionary history of plants and fungi
From the field to the lab to integrated risk assessment of vector-borne pathogens