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Sergey Bobylev, Anastasiya Goryacheva

Identification and Assessment of Ecosystem Services: The International Context

2019. Vol. 14. No. 1. P. 225–236 [issue contents]

Over the past 10 years the problems related to ecosystem services have been reflected not only in scientific developments but also in official conceptual documents of the leading international organizations, including the United Nations (UN), the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Community (EC). Ecosystem services and payments for these services have become important in the economic and political parts of these documents. This is related in many ways to the awareness of the rapid degradation of nature, which also damages human well-being and the economy. This article analyzes the existing definitions and classifications of ecosystem services by international organizations and in the scientific literature. It concludes that the term “ecosystem services” remains controversial and that there are a number of approaches to its definition. Common in these approaches is an attempt to link eco-services with benefits for human well-being. The most recognized approach is the methodology of the UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, which defines ecosystem services as those benefits that people receive from ecosystems. Particular attention in this article is paid to identifying the economic value of ecosystems and their services, which is the most difficult and urgent task for economic science. Due to the latent nature of many benefits from ecoservices and their diffusion among consumers/beneficiaries, they largely serve as public goods and are seen as free. Thus their importance is greatly underestimated, which leads to their degradation. Without a solution to this problem, the transition to a new economy for humanity is impossible. It is necessary to level out the risks of over-exploitation and depletion of ecosystem services, which requires that the environmental factor is adequately taken into account when making economic decisions.

In Russia the economics of ecosystem services has been poorly developed both in economic research and in legal and policy documents. An important step in resolving this problem should be the implementation of the Russian president’s Orders to the Government of the Russian Federation (January 2017), which envisage the development of an international environmental agenda for the formation of a system of compensation (payments) for ecosystem services with Russia as an environmental donor. Such a system needs to be formed within the country to support regions with large ecosystem capital.


Bobylev S., Goryacheva A. (2019) Identification and Assessment of Ecosystem Services: The International Context. International Organisations Research Journal, vol. 14, no 1, pp. 225-236 (in English). DOI: 10.17323/1996-7845-2019-01-13.

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