Academics and policy-makers recognize that humans and nature should be studied and managed as integrated social–ecological systems. Recently, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) approved the Summary for Policy-makers of the Regional and Subregional Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for the Americas, concluding the environment should be mainstreamed across development sectors. Beyond its mandate to generate understanding of nature and human well-being from diverse knowledge sources, IPBES is also tasked with advancing science-policy tools to aide information uptake into decisions. Based on the Americas Assessment’s 3-year, continental-scale experience, we developed three strategies to guide decisions regarding nature’s contributions to people (NCP) for achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Specifically, we prioritized contributions, recognized nature’s plural values, and grouped diverse human–nature relationships to orient attention towards important NCP–SDG linkages, expand the suite of environment–development criteria considered, and create bundles to facilitate the incorporation of complexity into decisions.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
The data that support the findings of this study are available from https://github.com/SDG-NCP/Bundles-of-SDG-NCP.
Blondel VD, Guillaume J-L, Lambiotte R, Lefebvre E (2008) Fast unfolding of communities in large networks. J Stat Mech Theory Exp 10:P10008
Carpenter SR, Mooney HA, Agard J, Capistrano D, DeFries RS, Díaz S, Dietz T, Duraiappah AK, Oteng-Yeboah A, Pereira HM, Perrings C, Reid WV, Sarukhan J, Scholes RJ, Whyte A (2009) Science for managing ecosystem services: beyond the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:1305–1312
Díaz S, Pascual U, Stenseke M, Martín-López B, Watson RT, Molnár Z, Hill R, Chan KMA, Baste IA, Brauman KA, Polasky S, Church A, Lonsdale M, Larigauderie A, Leadley PW, van Oudenhoven APE, van der Plaat F, Schröter M, Lavorel S, Aumeeruddy-Thomas Y, Bukvareva E, Davies K, Demissew S, Erpul G, Failler P, Guerra CA, Hewitt CL, Keune H, Lindley S, Shirayama Y (2018) Assessing nature’s contributions to people. Science 359(6373):270–272
Dye C (2018) Expanded health systems for sustainable development. Science 359(6382):1337–1339
Inter-governmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) (2018) Summary for Policymakers of the Regional Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for the Americas of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. IPBES Secretariat, Bonn, p 35
Keniger LE, Gaston KJ, Irvine KN, Fuller RA (2013) What are the benefits of interacting with nature? Int J Environ Res Public Health 10:913–935. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph10030913
Landeta J (2006) Current validity of the Delphi method in social sciences. Technol Forecast Soc Chang 73:467–482
McKinnon MC, Cheng SH, Dupre S, Edmond J, Garside R, Glew L, Holland MB, Levine E, Masuda YJ, Miller DC, Oliveira I, Revenaz J, Roe D, Shamer S, Wilkie D, Wongbusarakum S, Woodhouse E (2016) What are the effects of nature conservation on human well-being? A systematic map of empirical evidence from developing countries. Environ Evid 5(1):8. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13750-016-0058-7
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) (2005) Ecosystems and Human Well-being: General Synthesis. https://www.millenniumassessment.org/documents/document.356.aspx.pdf. Accessed 5 Apr 2018
Mukherjee N, Huge J, Sutherland WJ, McNeill J, van Opstal M, Dahdouh-Guebas F, Koedam N (2015) The Delphi technique in ecology and biological conservation: applications and guidelines. Methods Ecol Evol 6:1097–1109
Pascual U, Balvanera P, Díaz S, Pataki G, Roth E, Stenseke M, Watson RT, Başak Dessane E, Islar M, Kelemen E, Maris V, Quaas M, Subramanian SM, Wittmer H, Adlan A, Ahn S, Al-Hafedh YS, Amankwah E, Asah ST, Berry P, Bilgin A, Breslow SJ, Bullock C, Cáceres D, Daly-Hassen H, Figueroa E, Golden CD, Gómez-Baggethun E, González-Jiménez D, Houdet J, Keune H, Kumar R, Ma K, May PH, Mead A, O’Farrell P, Pandit R, Pengue W, Pichis-Madruga R, Popa F, Preston S, Pacheco-Balanza D, Saarikoski H, Strassburg BB, van den Belt H, Verma M, Wickson F, Yagi N (2017) Valuing nature’s contributions to people: the IPBES approach. Curr Opin Environ Sustain 26:7–16
Power AG (2010) Ecosystem services and agriculture: tradeoffs and synergies. Philos Trans R Soc B 365:2959–2971
Seixas CS, Anderson CB, Fennessy S, Herrera-F. B, Barbosa O, Cole R, Juman R, Lopez-Hoffman L, Moraes RM, Overbeck G, Townsend WR, Díaz-José J (2018) Nature’s contributions to people and quality of life, Chapter 2. In: Regional and subregional assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the Americas. IPBES Secretariat, Bonn, Germany
Teel TL, Anderson CB, Burgman MA, Cinner J, Clark D, Estévez RA, Jones JPG, McClanahan TR, Reed MS, Sandbrook C, St. John FAV (2018) Publishing social sciences in Conservation Biology to move beyond biology. Conserv Biol 32:6–8
United Nations General Assembly (UN) (2015) Resolution 70/1. http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E. Accessed 5 Apr 2018
Wood SLR, Jones SK, Johnson JA, Brauman KA, Chaplin-Kramer R, Fremier A, Girvetz E, Gordon LJ, Kappel CV, Mandle L, Mulligan M, O’Farrell P, Smith WK, Willemen L, Zhang W, Declerck FA (2018) Distilling the role of ecosystem services in the Sustainable Development Goals. Ecosyst Serv 29:70–82
Special thanks to the Americas Assessment experts and the Americas Technical Support Unit and IPBES Secretariat staff.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no competing interests.
Handled by Osamu Saito, UNU-Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability Institute of Sustainability and Peace, Japan.
Electronic supplementary material
Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.
About this article
Cite this article
Anderson, C.B., Seixas, C.S., Barbosa, O. et al. Determining nature’s contributions to achieve the sustainable development goals. Sustain Sci 14, 543–547 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-018-0643-5
- Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services