The idea that nature provides services to people is one of the most powerful concepts to have emerged over the last two decades. It is shaping our understanding of the role that biodiverse ecosystems play in the environment and their benefits for humankind. As a result, there is a growing interest in operational and methodological issues surrounding ecosystem services amongst environmental managers, and many institutions are now developing teaching programmes to equip the next generation with the skills needed to apply the concepts more effectively. 

This handbook provides a comprehensive reference text on ecosystem services, integrating natural and social science (including economics). Collectively the chapters, written by the world's leading authorities, demonstrate the importance of biodiversity for people, policy and practice. They also show how the value of ecosystems to society can be expressed in monetary and non-monetary terms, so that the environment can be better taken into account in decision making. The significance of the ecosystem service paradigm is that it helps us redefine and better communicate the relationships between people and nature. It is shown how these are essential to resolving challenges such as sustainable development and poverty reduction, and the creation of a green economy in developing and developed world contexts.

part I|108 pages

Ecosystem services concepts and frameworks – introduction

chapter 5|12 pages

Ecosystem Structures and Processes

Characterising natural capital stocks and flows

chapter 6|14 pages

The Beneficiary Perspective

Benefits and beyond

chapter 9|3 pages

A Critical Perspective

chapter 10|4 pages

Economics and Ecosystem Services

A positive contribution to environmental management

part II|192 pages

Ecosystem services

chapter 24|7 pages

Securing Nature and People

Can we replicate and scale success?

part III|158 pages

Ecosystem services in an applied context – introduction

chapter 25|13 pages

Ecosystems Services


chapter 29|9 pages


chapter 31|11 pages


part IV|128 pages

Ecosystem services

chapter 42|15 pages

Ecosystem Services and Health

chapter 44|6 pages

Payments for Ecosystem Services

chapter 47|14 pages

Spatial and Landscape Planning

A place for ecosystem services

chapter 48|4 pages

An Institutional Perspective

chapter 49|11 pages

The Use of Ecosystem Services Knowledge in Policy-Making

Drawing lessons and adjusting expectations

part V|14 pages


chapter 51|5 pages

Ecosystem Services

Where is the discipline heading?

chapter 52|4 pages

Ecosystem Services

Never waste the opportunity offered by a good crisis