Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Untangling the Environmentalist's Paradox: Why Is Human Well-being Increasing as Ecosystem Services Degrade?
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology (INK).
Show others and affiliations
2010 (English)In: BioScience, ISSN 0006-3568, E-ISSN 1525-3244, Vol. 60, no 8, 576-589 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Environmentalists have argued that ecological degradation will lead to declines in the well-being of people dependent on ecosystem services. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment paradoxically found that human well-being has increased despite large global declines in most ecosystem services. We assess four explanations of these divergent trends: (1) We have measured well-being incorrectly; (2) well-being is dependent on food services, which are increasing, and not on other services that are declining; (3) technology has decoupled well-being from nature; (4) time lags may lead to future declines in well-being. Our findings discount the first hypothesis, but elements of the remaining three appear plausible. Although ecologists have convincingly documented ecological decline, science does not adequately understand the implications of this decline for human well-being. Untangling how human well-being has increased as ecosystem conditions decline is critical to guiding future management of ecosystem services; we propose four research areas to help achieve this goal.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 60, no 8, 576-589 p.
Keyword [en]
ecosystem services, human well-being, time lags, sustainability, adaptation
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-50521DOI: 10.1525/bio.2010.60.8.4ISI: 000281299400004OAI: diva2:381638
authorCount :8Available from: 2010-12-28 Created: 2010-12-28 Last updated: 2011-01-20Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Peterson, Garry D.
By organisation
Stockholm Resilience CentreDepartment of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology (INK)
In the same journal
Natural Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 39 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link