Ecosystem service evaluation to support land-use policy.

Published in Agriculture, Ecosystem & Environment, v. 154:78-84

Viglizzo, E.F., Paruelo, J.M., Laterra, P. and Jobbágy, E.G.

Publication year 2012
  • INTA, EEA Anguil, Grupo de Investigaciones en Gestión Ambiental (GIGA), Av. Spinetto 785, 6300 Santa Rosa, La Pampa, Argentina, INCITAP-CONICET, Ruta 35, km 335, 6300 Santa Rosa, La Pampa, Argentina, UNLPam, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Av. Uruguay 151, 6300 Santa Rosa, La Pampa, Argentina
  • Laboratorio de Análisis Regional y Teledetección, Departamento de Métodos Cuantitativos Sistemas de información, Facultad de Agronomía and IFEVA, Universidad de Buenos Aires and CONICET, Avda. San Martín, 4453 Buenos Aires, 1417, Argentina
  • Unidad Integrada Balcarce: EEA Balcarce, Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, CC 276, 7620 Balcarce, Argentina, CONICET, Andes 950, 5700, San Luis, San Luis, Argentina
  • Grupo de Estudios Ambientales IMASL, Ejército de los, Andes 950, 5700, San Luis, San Luis, Argentina


IAI Program


IAI Project CRN3095


  • We discuss how ecosystem services can contribute to develop land-use policies.
  • Tradeoffs between ecosystem services and disservices were analyzed.
  • The link to nature was discussed in state-controlled and market-controlled policies.


Regular economic activity takes into account ecosystem goods and services that are exchanged for money in the market (e.g. food, fibre, water) but normally ignores more intangible ones left away from market transactions (e.g. soil protection, climate regulation, disturbance control, habitat provision), even in cases when they become irreversibly impaired. However, because of the increasing pressure brought by the public opinion, the attempts to assign an economic, yet volatile, valuation to ecosystems assets has multiplied in recent years, and policy communities are increasingly compelled to incorporate them into land use planning initiatives. Based on contributions to this special issue, we discuss how the perspective of ecosystem services can contribute to develop sound land-use policies and planning actions. Beyond valuation, several practical implications emerge from the contributions. A myriad of potential tradeoffs must be analyzed because since the provision of some services can be accompanied by the emergence of unexpected dis-services. For example, carbon accumulation based on increasing net primary production rates may simultaneously cut water yields and, hence, water provision. Various existing mechanisms ranging from state-controlled to market-controlled for rewarding the provision of ecosystem services are analyzed and discussed in terms of their capacity to connect nature to land-use planning.