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9/26/2013 at 12:25:43 PM GMT
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Invitation to submit an abstract

Invitation to submit an abstract

We would like to encourage you to submit an abstract for the 24th Annual European meeting Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC Europe) to be held in Basel from the 11th -15th of May, 2014. We are organising a session called Ecosystem Service Valuation Approaches: Implications for Ecosystem-Based Assessment and Management (under main theme: LETES - Landscape ecotoxicology and management, ecosystem services). We hope to have a broad, cross-disciplinary discussion on this critical issue; a session abstract can be seen below.

For more information on the conference, see http://basel.setac.eu/?contentid=636. Please note that acceptance of a presentation is not guaranteed. Unfortunately, SETAC never grants free registrations to presenters. All presenters must register for the meeting and pay the applicable registration fees. All abstracts must be submitted via the online abstract submission page, which will open by the 4th of October and can be reached via http://basel.setac.eu. The deadline for abstract submission is the 30th of November 2013. Abstracts submitted after that date will NOT be taken into consideration. Note that people submitting an abstract for a platform presentation, will be asked to submit an extended abstract of 2 pages.

Session abstract: Ecosystem Service Valuation Approaches: Implications for Ecosystem-Based Assessment and Management

Ecosystem Services (EsS) are increasingly a component or even an underlying principle of environmental policy, legislation and management internationally. In EsS applications, Ecosystem Service Decision Analysis defines proposed actions (scenarios), and the changes/pressures under consideration in different scenarios, as well as the statutory and other drivers which may underlie decisions. Within this context, Ecosystem Service Assessment evaluates how such changes affect biophysical structure, and thus ecosystem function and services; Ecosystem Service Valuation takes the results from these analyses and generates valuations to inform decisions. The valuation of EsS is thus a critical bridge between the often highly technical EsS assessments and decision makers, including the public. EsS valuation approaches, whether monetary or otherwise, are designed to integrate and aggregate disparate measures; services or their indicators are prioritized, weighted, valued and aggregated, to develop and communicate comparative indicators help inform decisions. However, the process of valuation, by its nature, transforms assessment outcomes into human terms; the approach to valuation affects its outcome. There is growing concern about the valuation of ecosystem services. Many have expressed disquiet about the ethics of "putting a price on nature”. Some question the relevance of using traditional economic tools for defining the value of processes generally considered free and unlimited; and to reflect evolving perceptions of sustainability and ecosystems. A desire to focus only on services that can be rigorously quantified can limit the scope of an assessment or valuation, and premature monitisation or aggregation may obscure important processes, bypassing stakeholder inputs. Aggregation of all issues into a single metric (whether monetary or otherwise) can obscure issues such as impacts and benefits being experienced in different places, or by different individuals; having potential implications for environmental justice. On the other hand, many regulatory and decision processes are driven by economic considerations; it can be argued that by including ecosystem services in valuations, they will at least become a factor in decision processes. Non-monetary valuation approaches may be more transparent and inclusive, but it may be more difficult to incorporate them in a consistent decision process. This session will discuss various approaches to the valuation of assessed ecosystem services to inform and communicate decisions. Abstracts that present and critically assess tools, approaches and case studies in which the valuation of ecosystem services is applied to environmental management and policy decisions are encouraged, as are critical discussions on the relationships between ecosystem service assessments, valuations and decisions, and how this affects how we assess, communicate and manage risk.

Please feel free to contact us with questions.

Sincerely, the Session chairs:

Dr Sabine E Apitz, SEA Environmental Decisions, Ltd., UK (drsea@cvrl.org)

Dr Charles Menzie, Exponent, USA (camenzie@exponent.com)

Dr Thoko Kaime, School of Law, University of Leicester, UK (thokokaime@gmail.com)