Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Arguments for our future Environment BESAFE

Project description

In order to protect biodiversity, policy makers increasingly require demonstration of its value. BESAFE used case studies to investigate how much importance people attribute to alternative arguments for the protection of biodiversity and in particular how this relates to ecosystem services.The focus was on the arguments used by policy makers at different governance levels and in different ecological, socio-economic, spatial and temporal contexts.

BESAFE examined the interactions of environmental protection policies between governance scales with an aim to support the assessment of the transferability of arguments across scales. The Project also considered the contribution that valuing ecosystem services can make in demonstrating the value of biodiversity.

BESAFE found that arguments generate effects in different ways at different stages of policy processes and at different levels. Ecosystem service and benefit arguments have emerged particulary in local policy processes where they balance conservation arguments and bridge across conflicting goals. National and higher level processes encounter more polarised argumentation.

Individual decision-makers encounter other descision-makers values, portrayed in arguments. The SYKE-led analysis showed that some individually held values conflict more than others with collective values. Conflict is experienced in particular by those who personally highlight intrinsic values and perceive utilitarian values to dominate decision-making. By contrast, personally held human benefit values are not in conflict with collective values in decision-makin and collectively held insurance values generate least personal conflict.

The results feed to a framework that can give guidance on the effectiveness of alternative arguments and protection strategies in various contexts.

Case studies

Out of the 12 BESAFE case studies, two were in Finland:

Recent publications

Project home page

More information

Eeva Primmer, Finnish Environment Institute, Email:

Published 2013-04-18 at 14:03, updated 2018-06-22 at 11:44