In their recent article, Shapiro and Báldi (2014) build on the long-running narrative of “ecosystem services and disservices” (e.g., Zhang et al., 2007 ; Lyytimäki et al., 2008), describing how nature yields both benefits and harms to society. These harms include crop pests, floods, landslides, wildfires, and zoonotic disease transmission, among others. While we agree with their argument that calculation of these harms is commonplace and corresponding quantification of benefits is needed, we feel the use of the concept of “ecosystem disservices” hampers, rather than helps, the development of an integrative and constructive dialogue about conservation and the complex interrelationships between humans and nature. Estimation of costs and benefits and their balancing as positives or negatives is a principal activity in economics; however, we fear that in this case the term “disservice” carries the wrong message for both science and society.
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||The misconception of ecosystem disservices: How a catchy term may yield the wrong messages for science and society|
|Series title||Ecosystem Services|
|Contributing office(s)||Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|