The Nature Debate: How should we frame and value Nature?

Status: This talk is in preparation - details may change

The debate over protecting nature for humans’ sake (instrumental values) or for nature’s (intrinsic values) has divided conservationists for a long time. In recent years, controversies have grown as many conservation scientists have endorsed economic framing and valuation of ecosystem services as a pragmatic strategy to communicate the value of ecosystems and biodiversity in a language that resonates with dominant political and economic views. This presentation discusses challenges, opportunities and perils of the economic approach to environmental policy and conservation. First, it reviews the development of ideas in environmental science and policy regarding nature framing and valuation. Next, it draws on theoretical insights and empirical data to discuss effects of economic valuation and payments in in motivations for conservation. Third, it advances novel perspectives in nature values and valuation that can help overcome the impasse in the nature framing debate. The seminar ends by identifying key challenges for the research agenda on nature framing and valuation.