Friday, April 10, 2015

The Nature of Wellbeing: How ecosystem services contribute to the wellbeing of New Zealand and New Zealanders

After much gestation, this Department of Conservation (DoC) contracted report by Lincoln University researchers (and a couple of ring-ins including Robert Costanza) is now released.

We define ‘ecosystem services’ (ES) as the benefits people obtain from ecosystems. Ecosystems are widely considered to provide four categories of services: supporting (e.g. nutrient cycling, soil formation and primary production); provisioning (e.g. food, fresh water, wood, fibre and fuel); regulating (e.g. climate regulation, flood and disease regulation, and water purification); and cultural (aesthetic, spiritual, educational and recreational).

Interactions between ecosystem services, human needs, satisfiers and wellbeing.

Of course ecological systems have played an important role in the survival and development of Māori as a people, as they have for all societies. However, Māori identity also has more subtle connections with the land and water, such that ‘Māori aspirations and well-being are interdependent on ecosystems and ecosystem services’ (Harmsworth & Awatere 2013: 274). The relationships continue to be recited through ancient waiata/songs and whakataukī/proverbs, which rekindle the breadth and depth of their engagement with the enveloping ecosphere (Kawharu 2002; Selby 2010).

The report is available through the DoC website.

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Simon Lambert

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