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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 437-449

Assessing the Relationship Between Human Well-being and Ecosystem Services: A Review of Frameworks


1 Department of Geography and Environment; Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science, London; Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE), University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom
2 Department of Geography and Environment; Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, United Kingdom
3 Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London, United Kingdom
4 Anthropology Department, University College London, London, United Kingdom
5 Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, London, United Kingdom
6 Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, UK; Frankfurt Zoological Society, Zambia and Tanzania, United Kingdom
7 Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London; Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Matthew Agarwala
Department of Geography and Environment; Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science, London; Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE), University of East Anglia, Norwich
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.155592

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Focusing on the most impoverished populations, we critically review and synthesise key themes from dominant frameworks for assessing the relationship between well-being and ecosystem services in developing countries. This requires a differentiated approach to conceptualising well-being that appropriately reflects the perspectives of the poorest-those most directly dependent on ecosystem services, and their vulnerability to external and policy-driven environmental change. The frameworks analysed draw upon environmental sciences, economics, psychology, sociology, and anthropology, and were selected on the basis of their demonstrated or potential ability to illustrate the relationship between environmental change and human well-being, as well as their prevalence in real world applications. Thus, the synthesis offered here is informed by the various theoretical, methodological, and hermeneutical contributions from each field to the notion of well-being. The review highlights several key dimensions that should be considered by those interested in understanding and assessing the impact of environmental change on the well-being of the world's poorest people: the importance of interdisciplinary consideration of well-being, the need for frameworks that integrate subjective and objective aspects of well-being, and the central importance of context and relational aspects of well-being. The review is of particular interest to those engaged in the post-2015 development agenda.


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