Ecosystem services as a post-normal field of science

Ainscough, Jacob and Wilson, Meriwether and Kenter, Jasper O. (2018) Ecosystem services as a post-normal field of science. Ecosystem Services, 31. pp. 93-101. ISSN 2212-0416

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The ecosystem services (ES) concept is increasingly being integrated in to policy and decision making at all scales of environmental governance. Yet ES assessments are often characterised by high levels of uncertainty, are heavily value-laden and seek to contribute towards time-critical decision making and policy development. We assess the suitability of post-normal science as a broad scientific framework to guide research practice in such situations. Results of a literature review on the current use of post-normal science in ES literature are presented, and we discuss how the framing can contribute to three emergent threads in ES assessment: managing uncertainty, participation and knowledge validation, and dealing with value plurality. We conclude by arguing for the adoption of a post-normal science posture within ES research, due to its broad applicability, consistent philosophical underpinning and in-built reflexivity. A short list of questions is presented to help guide the application of a post-normal approach to ES research.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Ecosystem Services
Additional Information:
Funding Information: Jacob Ainscough was funded by a NERC doctoral training partnership grant (NE/L002558/1).
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08 Feb 2023 17:15
Last Modified:
08 Feb 2023 17:15