Creating win-wins from trade-offs?

Caroline Howe, Helen Suich, Bhaskar Vira and Georgina Mace have written an excellent new paper on ecosystem services trade-offs (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2014.07.005). Their meta-analysis of 92 papers which documented 231 trade-offs or synergies found that trade-offs are reported three times more commonly than synergies. They also found that , perhaps not surprisingly, trade-offs are more likely to occur in cases in which there is a private interest in the natural resource, which involve a provisioning ecosystem service and/or which involve a local stakeholder. As we have argued in Poppy et al. (2014), supporting the fair negotiation of trade-offs is a key feature of the ecosystem services approach. By identifying some of the factors that lead to trade-offs, Howe and her co-authors have moved us a step in the right direction. But there remains a great deal of work to be done to develop more transparent and equitable processes for negotiating trade-offs.

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