Integrating Ecosystem Services in Nature Conservation for Colombia

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


The ecosystem services (ES) approach has been introduced in environmental policies and management to serve as a link between nature and society. Communication, education, and participation actions (CEPA) have the potential to facilitate this link. In this research, we evaluated how CEPA have been implemented in biodiversity conservation projects that consider ES. We used content analysis to review 182 biodiversity conservation projects executed by 33 environmental authorities in Colombia. We also used multiple correspondence analysis and cluster analysis to classify projects on the basis of the purpose of CEPA, type of CEPA, integration of CEPA, ES addressed, main stakeholders, and aim of conservation. We found that five aspects are key to fostering social engagement in environmental management projects: promoting explicit consideration of the ES approaches, increasing conservation efforts focused on the non-material benefits of the ES, integrating different types of CEPA, including overlooked key actors (e.g., indigenous communities and women), and developing and implementing social indicators. These considerations might lead environmental managers to revise their daily practices and, eventually, inform policies that foster an explicit link between CEPA and ES approaches.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)149-161
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 01.08.2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers of the manuscript for their insightful and constructive suggestions. We also thank all the staff from the RACs and the Environmental Ministry in Colombia who supported us with the collection of the annual reports. We greatly appreciate the valuable and inspiring comments made by Berta Martín-López and Juan Rocha in an early version of the paper. We also thank Megan Meacham for her detailed revision of the final version of the paper, and Itzam Martínez for the GIS support. Amanda Jiménez-Aceituno would like to acknowledge support from the Sida funded Guidance for Resilience in the Anthropocene: Investments for Development (GRAID) project at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden. Daniel Rozas-Vásquez appreciates the support provided by the Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (CONICYT) through the program Becas Chile and the project PROFONDECYT-UCT: 2019PF-DR-06. This research was funded by the Fundación Universitaria Juan de Castella nos, Colombia, and by the scholarship “Pasaporte a la Ciencia 2019” within the Scientific Colombian Program. Open access funding provided by Stockholm University.

    Research areas

  • Environmental education, Conservation policies, Environmental management, Ecosystem services, Colombia
  • Sustainability education