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An Empirical Analysis of Institutional Demand for Valuation Knowledge
- Primmer, Eeva, Saarikoski, Heli, Vatn, Arild
- Ecological economics 2018 v.152 pp. 152-160
- decision making, ecological value, ecosystem services, ecosystems, empirical research, interviews, issues and policy, peatlands, Finland
- The ecosystem services literature rests on the premise that an increased understanding of ecosystems, ecosystem services and, in particular, the value of ecosystem services will feed to decision-making. Yet, there is little evidence for the assumed demand and applicability of valuation knowledge in real-life policy and decision-making processes, and the use of such knowledge has received little in-depth analytical attention. Motivated by these observations, we have conducted an empirical analysis of ecosystem service value knowledge use. Our analysis of policy actors' experiences and expectations regarding value knowledge in Finland's peatland policy draws on ten interviews with eleven policy actors. Focusing on the usefulness and uses of valuation knowledge, we analyze the ways in which values are framed and value knowledge is expected to influence the rights to use ecosystem services. Our analysis shows that policy actors expect a better understanding of ecosystem service values to support the consideration of benefits. Yet, what they view as crucial knowledge needs aligns with their sectoral or organizational position as well as the interests they represent. Hence, valuation does not provide a solution to distributional debates or conflicts over rights, but it can have an important function as the provider of background knowledge.