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Incorporating Plural Valuation of Nature into Environmental Decision-Making in the Global South: A Special Collection


Tuyeni H. Mwampamba, Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y Sustentabilidad, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Campus UNAM Morelia

Patricia Balvanera, Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y Sustentabilidad, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Campus Morelia

Unai Pascual, Basque Centre for Climate Change, Bilbao, Spain

Noelia Zafra Calvo, Basque Centre for Climate Change, Bilbao, Spain

INTRODUCTION: Nature and its contributions to people (NCP) are perceived and valued differently by different individuals, communities and sectors making it difficult to have consensus on how they should be managed. Failure to recognize the multiple values of nature or to incorporate them into decision-making often leads to discontentment, a powerful and dangerous ingredient for conflict in natural resource management that can have dire impacts for nature and people alike. Valuation approaches that are designed to elicit diverse values, to reconcile conflicting viewpoints and incorporate them into decision-making should, in principle, lead to more robust, just, and sustainable outcomes. However, attaining plural valuation is a complex undertaking that can be hindered and constrained at many stages along the valuation process. Moreover, while enabling conditions (e.g., social capital) are necessary for bringing plural valuation into decision making, they can be highly variable and unpredictable, ranging from the immaculate execution of a series of "best practices" to the one-time interjection of a prominent politician.

Practitioners and researchers who are interested in amplifying society’s participation in natural resource management and recognizing the different voices and diverse values that are embedded in how nature is managed usually understand that the local context matters. But how the local context can best be leveraged to achieve the desired outcomes is oftentimes a mystery and a challenge.

This Special Issue on “Incorporating plural valuation of nature into environmental decision-making in the Global South” aims to provide a collection of case studies on plural valuation of nature that help shed light on the importance of the local context. Authors reflect on how the local context enabled or constrained incorporation of the diversity of existing values of nature into decision-making and they identify the set of "best practices" that contributed to full or partial success of the valuation process. Additionally, they pin-point the added value or potential risks of engaging with value plurality.

The collection is also an effort to highlight the disproportionate occurrence of environmental injustices and nature degradation in and around the Global South. While each article should offer a stand-alone insight into a particular case (or set of cases), together the cases permit an overview of plural valuation as it has been applied in different contexts and identification of key shared lessons. The editorial introducing the cases will synthesize the main messages by comparing across the case studies.

We believe that the collection of cases will be valuable to natural resource practitioners primarily, but also to researchers interested in engaging in plural valuation processes and to educators in search of real-life examples for exploring with students the complexities of nature-people relations in natural resource decision-making.

Interested parties should contact with an abstract of their proposed case study article. Author guidelines and a link to our manuscript submissions system available here.

Initial deadline for receiving article submissions: May 30, 2020. We will do our best to ensure that articles submitted by this date and accepted for publication will publish in time for citation by the ongoing IPBES valuation assessment. Final deadline for late article submissions: August 30, 2020. Articles submitted by this date and accepted for publication will be a part of the special collection, but will publish too late to be cited in the ongoing IPBES valuation assessment.

Image: Participatory planning of Yankari National Park management, Bauchi State, Nigeria (Photo: Tuyeni H. Mwampamba)
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