An article from Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

2 Noragric professors in intergovernmental nature assessment. (Photo: CC0/pixabay)

New report will assess how humans evaluate nature

The new intergovernmental assessment will try to understand how humans value nature and the impact of these views on biodiversity and ecosystems.

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

NMBU's research is enabling people all over the world to tackle the big, global challenges regarding the environment, sustainable development, how to improve human and animal health, renewable energy sources, food production, and land- and resource management.

NMBU professors Arild Vatn and Erik Gómez-Baggethun are lead authors of the major intergovernmental assessment 'Making the Many Values of Nature Count'.

In 2021, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) will submit a report on how to determine of the value of nature, with NMBU professors Arild Vatn and Erik Gómez-Baggethun as lead authors in two of the chapters.

The platform (IPBES) assesses and strengthens the interaction between research and resource management with a view to helping to prevent loss of biodiversity and the degradation of nature. The organization has the same role for biodiversity as the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Extensive report

From 2018 to 2021, around 80 researchers from 40 countries will be working on the IPBES Values ​​Assessment report 'Making the Many Values of Nature Count'. This report will look into all the different forms of value that are put on nature ​​and examine how nature enriches humanity. The report will investigate how these 'values' affect the decisions we make, and the consequences that may follow.

Arild Vatn and Erik Gómez-Baggethun from the Department of International Environmental and Development Studies (Noragric) at NMBU are designated lead authors of two of the assessment's chapters.

Various cultures understand the values of nature differently

Arild Vatn is the lead author of Chapter 2: The diverse conceptualization of the values ​​of nature and Nature's Contributions to People (NCP).

"In Chapter 2, we work with how the values of nature are understood in different cultures, and what these values mean for peoples' lives. It is exciting, but also demanding work since the perspectives are so different, both between cultures and between academic disciplines...I certainly know what I'm going to be busy with in the coming months" says Vatn.

Transition to an ecologically sustainable future

Erik Gómez-Baggethun is lead author of Chapter 5: Incorporating multiple values ​​of nature and NCP for sustainable futures.

"The fifth chapter will look at how incorporating various types of values of nature into decision-making processes can contribute to the transition to an ecologically sustainable and socially just future. The chapter aims to produce the knowledge and practical guidance required to understand and control such change", says Gómez-Baggethun.

The report will be completed in 2021.

This article was updated 10.01.19.

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