Enhancing synergies in nature’s contributions to people in socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes: lessons learnt from ten site-based projects in biodiversity hotspots

In Sustainability Science
Peer-reviewed Article

Trade-offs in nature’s contributions to people (NCP), particularly in material NCP versus regulating and non-material NCP, continue to rise. Socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS) represent harmonious human-nature interactions resulting in positive outcomes for both biodiversity and human well-being, thus implying synergies among multiple NCP are possible. In case studies of ten projects selected from biodiversity hotspots under the GEF-Satoyama Project, we investigated whether and how synergies in NCP exist within SEPLS and explored management interventions that enhanced these synergies. Using the responses to an online survey completed by project managers from each project and drawing on project reports, we identified a wide array of NCP deriving from various ecosystems within the project SEPLS. Habitat and food provisions, both attributed to multiple ecosystem types, were key components of the NCP bundles present in the project SEPLS. Among the management options that enhanced NCP in SEPLS were food-centred approaches entailing organic agriculture, eco-labelling, branding and improved agricultural practices. Habitat-centred approaches included participatory biodiversity monitoring, ecosystem restoration, co-management and conservation agreements with landowners. Synergies in NCP were generated by integrating these interventions with enabling governance structures and through community empowerment. If combined with mapping and modelling techniques, identifying NCP bundles in SEPLS from local people’s perspectives as we outlined in this study, would help to better contextualise the analysis of NCP bundles. Such contextualised NCP bundle analyses will help field practitioners understand how to enhance synergies between multiple NCP and the broader conservation community could access untapped NCP knowledge.

Kylie J