Assessing nature’s contributions to people: Recognizing culture, and diverse sources of knowledge, can improve assessments

Research output: Journal contributionsScientific review articlesResearch


  • Sandra Díaz
  • Unai Pascual
  • Marie Stenseke
  • Robert T. Watson
  • Zsolt Molnár
  • Rosemary Hill
  • Kai M.A. Chan
  • Ivar A. Baste
  • Kate A. Brauman
  • Stephen Polasky
  • Andrew Church
  • Mark Lonsdale
  • Anne Larigauderie
  • Paul W. Leadley
  • Alexander P.E. Van Oudenhoven
  • Felice Van Der Plaat
  • Matthias Schröter
  • Sandra Lavorel
  • Yildiz Aumeeruddy-Thomas
  • Elena Bukvareva
  • Kirsten Davies
  • Sebsebe Demissew
  • Gunay Erpul
  • Pierre Failler
  • Carlos A. Guerra
  • Chad L. Hewitt
  • Hans Keune
  • Sarah Lindley
  • Yoshihisa Shirayama
A major challenge today and into the future is to maintain or enhance beneficial contributions of nature to a good quality of life for all people. This is among the key motivations of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), a joint global effort by governments, academia, and civil society to assess and promote knowledge of Earth's biodiversity and ecosystems and their contribution to human societies in order to inform policy formulation. One of the more recent key elements of the IPBES conceptual framework (1) is the notion of nature's contributions to people (NCP), which builds on the ecosystem service concept popularized by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) (2). But as we detail below, NCP as defined and put into practice in IPBES differs from earlier work in several important ways. First, the NCP approach recognizes the central and pervasive role that culture plays in defining all links between people and nature. Second, use of NCP elevates, emphasizes, and operationalizes the role of indigenous and local knowledge in understanding nature's contribution to people.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number6373
Pages (from-to)270-272
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 19.01.2018

    Research areas

  • Sustainability Science - biodiversity, conservation, culture, ecosystem service, knowledge, paradigm shift, sustainability, art, coral reef, cultural factor, environmental management, environmental protection, food availability, food industry, forest, information processing, policy, priority journal, psychological aspect, quality of life, recreation, religion, review, social behavior, water management, human, natural science, public policy, trends, natural science disciplines, Humans