Business for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

  • Valérie BoisvertEmail author
  • Hélène Tordjman
  • Frédéric Thomas


Since the end of the 1980s, conservation policies have focused on the search for market solutions to environmental problems. Several attempts have been made over years to turn various parts or facets of nature into economic assets, from genetic resources through ecosystem services. Similarly, several types of institutional arrangements have been in turn presented as markets. The relative failure of these tentative market policies has just led to shifts from one aspect or component of biodiversity to others and to the adoption of new ‘business models’ as previous arrangements proved ineffective. The latest product of this speculation surrounding nature is attached to ecosystem services that have become an inclusive framework encompassing most environmental issues (climate change, desertification, soil erosion, water, biodiversity, etc.). The concept of ecosystem services has begun spreading after the release of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment by the mid 2000s. This notion was formed at the interface of science and policy and is grounded neither in ecological nor in economic theories. Setting back ecosystem services in the history of environmental and ecological economics enables to restore the cognitive background from which this notion emerged and to explain both its hegemony and its impacts. Indeed, in line with green economy, it conveys a vision of nature as exempt from any conflict and danger and is quite positive about the feasibility of a harmonious combination of human activities and environmental protection, sustained by market development. It does not provide an adequate framework to deal with vulnerability and risk.


Ecosystem services Environmental policies Market-based instruments Science-policy interface 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valérie Boisvert
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hélène Tordjman
    • 2
  • Frédéric Thomas
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Geography and Sustainability, Faculty of Geosciences and the EnvironmentUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.CEPN – Université Paris 13, UFR Sciences économiques et gestionVilletaneuseFrance
  3. 3.IRD – UMR 208 PALOC, Muséum National d’Histoire NaturelleLaboratoire d’EthnobiologieParisFrance

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