A new paper titled, “Ecosystem services decision support tools: exploring the implementation gap in Canada” by Dr. Julia Baird was recently published in FACETS.
This paper explores the degree to which the ecosystem services (ES) concept and related tools have been integrated and implemented within the Canadian government context at both the provincial/territorial and federal levels. The research goals of the study were to qualitatively assess the extent to which ES assessment is being integrated at different levels of government, consider the barriers to implementation, and draw lessons from the development and use of Canada’s Ecosystem Services Toolkit: Completing and Using Ecosystem Service Assessment for Decision-Making—An Interdisciplinary Toolkit for Managers and Analysts (2017), jointly developed by a federal, provincial, and territorial government task force. Primary data were collected through targeted semi-structured interviews with key informants combined with a content analysis of ES-related documentation from government websites. Results indicate that while the term ES is found in documentation across different levels of government, there appears to be an ES implementation gap. Issues of conceptual understanding, path dependency, a lack of regulatory mandate, lost staff expertise, and competition with overlapping conceptual approaches were identified as barriers to ES uptake. Areas requiring further policy and research attention are identified.
Kerr, G.L., Holzer, J.M., Baird, J., and Hickey, G.M. (2021). Ecosystem services decision support tools: exploring the implementation gap in Canada. FACETS, 18: online.