Addressing the Knowledge – Practice Gap of Ecosystem Service Valuations: Understanding the Barriers to Building Social-Ecological Resilience in Kalimantan, Indonesia

University essay from Lunds universitet/Internationella miljöinstitutet

Abstract: Knowledge acquired through ecosystem service valuations can provide valuable information to stakeholders making land-use decisions. Effective use of ecosystem service valuation knowledge with a cost-benefit analysis can create resilient social-ecological systems. There is an increasing number of valuations being conducted, yet only one third of the studies are thought to be used in some form to aid in decision-making. The purpose of this thesis is to determine the barriers preventing more prolific use of this knowledge in decision-making processes, and to create a framework which identifies strategies to increase the use of ecosystem service valuation data and results. The use of this knowledge is applied to tropical forest ecosystems in Kalimantan, Indonesia where forests are being logged and converted to palm plantations. A literature review, systematic review of ecosystem service case studies, questionnaires and interviews were conducted in order to assess the knowledge-practice gap in ecosystem service valuations in Kalimantan. Identified barriers to the use of valuation knowledge in practice include lack of trust in data, lack of knowledge on how to use the scientific information, lack of a platform to apply the scientific results, short-sightedness of development projects and corruption. To overcome these barriers recommendations that follow from this thesis include: NGOs can promote the use of valuation data and results to stakeholders and provide training for their use, governments can create norms and laws to enforce the use of the knowledge, research donors can promote the use of applicable knowledge in funding applications and academics can engage decision-making stakeholders through the process of conducting the valuation. Further results in the context of Kalimantan illustrate that the economic benefits of conserving tropical forest ecosystems outweigh the benefits of converting the land to palm plantations in the long-run. Literature supports the fact that conservation creates more resilient social-ecological systems, meaning these valuation results can be beneficial for making decisions that increase the well-being of the people of Kalimantan.

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