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Science Informing Policy Symposium Series

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Valuing Nature: Protected Areas and Ecosystem Services

21-22 July 2014 | Brisbane


The Valuing Nature: Protected Areas and Ecosystem Services symposium was the fifth in the ACIUCN Science Informing Policy Symposium Series.

The symposium had its catalyst in the compelling fact that the world’s ecosystems and the myriad life forms they support, from mountains and oceans to forests wetlands and arctic ice, hold multiple values and deliver many benefits or ‘services’. They are the fundamental underpinning of life on Earth. Their rich values and services are crucial to human livelihoods, cultures, economies and well-being. However, while National GDPs may be growing overall, both ecosystems and the benefits they support are declining at unprecedented rates.

In particular, the symposium partners were concerned that the critical role played by protected areas in maintaining these ecosystem services and their benefits is often missing from policy and decision making. The result is that protected areas are often narrowly valued and inadequately recognised in public policy. To address this challenge requires sound policy at local, national and international levels.


Guiding policy advice:

The symposium brought together Australia’s leading experts on valuing nature, with additional international contributors, to discuss the best-practice approach to policy and decision making on this topic.

The advice and expertise harnessed during the event have been collated into a peer-reviewed publication of over 130 pages and 25 chapters, which harness the key input and policy advice of the symposium contributors.

The publication aims to convey a better understanding of the centrality of ecosystems to humanity’s wellbeing and future and highlight the particular importance of protected areas - the lands and seas dedicated to conservation. The contributions illustrate how better accounting of ecosystem services can help provide the evidence to support maintaining and continuing to build protected area systems, manage their health and integrity and avoid backward steps, erosion and undervaluation.

The publication provides decision makers with science-based and independent information to inform better policy and students will benefit from a broad spectrum of current information and views.


Download the book

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Symposium partners:

The symposium and publication were made possible by the collaboration of Griffith University (Climate Change Response Program), The Nature Conservancy, Parks Victoria, Pew Charitable Trusts and the Australian Conservation Foundation. The South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources contributed the design and production of this publication.


IQ2 Debate: Should we Price Nature to Protect It?

Watch lead editor, Penelope Figgis AO, discuss the issues around valuing nature in the St James Centre IQ2 Debate at City Recital Hall, Sydney on 21 July 2015

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