LSE - Small Logo
LSE - Small Logo

Sarah Edmonds

March 4th, 2015

Tim Forsyth: Ecological Functions and Functionings

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Sarah Edmonds

March 4th, 2015

Tim Forsyth: Ecological Functions and Functionings

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Professor Tim Forsyth

Prof Tim Forsyth

Professor Tim Forsyth’s article “Ecological Functions and Functionings: Towards a Senian Analysis of Ecosystem Services” has been published in the latest issue of Development and Change.

Read the full article here.

Abstract: Ecosystem services are part of a growing trend within environment and development to analyse environmental change within the context of socially valued outcomes. Yet, ecosystem services-based policies and analyses are increasingly criticized for failing to connect with, or even for restricting, development outcomes.

This article seeks to connect environmental analysis with development outcomes better by applying the capability approach of Amartya Sen and others. It demonstrates how scientific analysis of ecosystem services sometimes conflates pathways of ecosystem management with development outcomes, but that it can be reconfigured to include more diverse values and objectives.

The article argues that ecosystem services should be identified more as ‘functionings’ (in the Senian sense of valued development outcomes) rather than ‘functions’ (in the sense of biophysical, apolitical ecosystem properties) in order to indicate that ‘services’ always reflect social values, and that values and scientific explanations of underlying biophysical properties evolve together. Environmental science for socially valued outcomes such as ecosystem services is therefore an important site of political inclusion and exclusion.

The article illustrates this analysis with examples of ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change from the World Bank and government of Bangladesh, and in contrast to differing approaches from the field of sustainability science.


 
Interested in climate change and sustainability? Check out Tim Dyson’s gripping speech about birth control at the UN commission in New York.

Tim Dyson UN Webcast

About the author

Sarah Edmonds

Posted In: Publications

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

RSS Justice and Security Research Programme

  • JSRP and the future
    The JSRP drew to a close in 2017 but many of the researchers and partners involved in the programme continue to work on the issues and theories developed during the lifetime of the programme. Tim Allen now directs the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa (FLCA) at LSE where many of the JSRP research team working […]
  • Life after the LRA
    The JSRP reached the end of its grant in spring 2017 but several outputs from the programme are scheduled for publication in the coming months. The most recent of these is a new journal article from Holly Porter and Letha Victor drawing on their extensive research with JSRP in the Acholi region of northern Uganda.  The […]

RSS LSE’s engagement with South Asia

  • The United States Has Re-asserted its Moral Leadership by Declaring the Atrocities Against Rohingya as Genocide
    In March, the United States declared the actions of Myanmar’s military against the Rohingya to be a case of ‘genocide’. Even though the declaration does not trigger military action, Shaikh Abdur Rahman argues that it has a twofold significance: it validates the sufferings of the Rohingya people, and, equally importantly, it resurrects a moral imperative […]
  • Linkage between Gold and the Stock Market in India
    India is one of the biggest consumers of gold on the planet. Nufazil Altaf Ahangar shows that gold has been a better safe-haven asset for investors in the country in times of crisis than stocks and shares. He argues, therefore, that policy-makers should take steps to create a more efficient gold market in India.   […]