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Everard, M. (2016)
Publisher: Elsevier
Languages: English
Types: Article
Cultural and other less directly exploited ecosystem services tend to be excluded from decision-making, yet may underlie strong ties between people and their surroundings providing significant incentives for engagement with ecosystem conservation. Overlooking non-marketed services leads to non-systemic, utilitarian understandings and narrow solutions. Aquatic species were recorded in eleven ponded sections of three sub-catchments in semi-arid north-east Rajasthan that had been regenerated through community-based management activities, along with local associated medicinal, spiritual and other cultural values. Local religious and traditional beliefs reinforce awareness of the co-dependence of people with nature. Socially held values may be incommensurable with quantification and monetisation methods applied to marketed services, other than by rough proxies, but can be significant in engendering engagement in landscape regeneration. Pervasive global declines in habitat quantity and quality, with their implications for human wellbeing through loss of ecosystem services, raise questions about the adequacy of interpretations of sustainable development that fail to recognise the need not merely to reduce pressures upon but to actively regenerate the supportive capacities of damaged ecosystems. Lessons from the study region can inform this global need for practical action and policy reform to restore ecosystems as fundamental resources underpinning continuing human security and opportunity.

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