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Brisbane, Australia

Pittock J.,Australian National University | Cork S.,Australian National University | Maynard S.,SEQ Catchments Ltd | Maynard S.,Australian National University
Ecosystem Services

We review the environmental challenges, cultures and institutions in Australia that have allowed the concept of ecosystem services to be tested and adapted. In some instance the nation has embraced the opportunities offered with ecosystem services forming the core of several large-scale reforms and collaborations that have considered dependence of humans on ecosystems. In other ways, however, the opportunities have been overlooked as Australia lacks effective institutions to consider human-environment interactions holistically and strategically. The term "ecosystem services" appears widely but it is mostly used superficially: often with reference to only a few services. The full suite of services, benefits and beneficiaries if humans and the natural environment are to coexist in the long-term have not been systematically included in decision making and management. Insights are distilled that may be useful in the application of ecosystem services in other parts of the world. Stable and well-funded regional natural resource and river basin management institutions have vital roles. Governance reforms at the national and state (provincial scales) are also needed to apply ecosystem service frameworks and improve accountability for implementation of policy agreements. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. Source

Maynard S.,SEQ Catchments Ltd | Maynard S.,Australian National University | James D.,University of The Sunshine Coast | Davidson A.,SEQ Catchments Ltd
International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystems Services and Management

This article describes the adaptive participatory approach that was adopted to develop an ecosystem services framework for planning and natural resource management in South East Queensland (SEQ) Australia. SEQ is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia, placing strong development pressures on ecosystems and the environment. The SEQ Ecosystem Services Project addresses the need to protect and enhance ecosystems in the region, contributing to the general well-being of the population. The key aim of the Project has been to develop an ecosystem services framework (the SEQ Ecosystem Services Framework or simply the Framework) and incorporate it in policy and planning relevant to the SEQ region. The Framework developed is now officially recognized by the Queensland and local governments in policy and planning documents and in State of the Region reporting. The Framework is based on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), with modifications that make it more suitable for application at the regional scale and for the particular conditions of SEQ. The Project has been coordinated by a non-government organization in collaboration with government, universities, other non-government organizations, business and industry. This article describes the important features of the approach, such as the direct participation of experts and/or stakeholders (more than 160 in all); the use of relatively simple systems models based on subjective expert judgements about causal connections among key variables; transparency of results; maps to support spatial planning; and the ability to revise the baseline information as the outcomes of management and planning decisions take place. © 2011 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Source

Maynard S.,SEQ Catchments Ltd | James D.,University of The Sunshine Coast | Davidson A.,SEQ Catchments Ltd
Environmental Management

Extensive research has been conducted globally into conceptual frameworks for ecosystem services, the most notable being the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (Millennium ecosystem assessment: ecosystems and human well-being; a framework for assessment. World Resources Institute, Washington, DC, pp 51, 53-55, 2005). The South East Queensland (SEQ) Ecosystem Services Framework (Australia) aims to provide the tools to enable government, industry, business, researchers, non-government organizations and land managers to apply the concept of ecosystem services in their planning and management practices. This article describes the Framework and the process that has produced matrices and maps that identify and illustrate the linkages between ecosystems, ecosystem functions, ecosystem services and the community's well-being. The matrices and maps derived can identify areas in the region where the most ecosystem services are generated. This allows areas to be considered as valuable natural assets of the region, deserving appropriate protection measures or significant offsets if they are diminished or degraded in any way. Although the Framework requires further refinement and ongoing development, the process applied and the products produced has enabled decision makers to turn the concept of ecosystem services into practical application in SEQ. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. Source

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