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Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3802-3824; doi:10.3390/su6063802

Exploring the Gap between Ecosystem Service Research and Management in Development Planning

1,2,†,* , 3,4,†
,
1,4,†
and
1,2,†
1
Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
2
Natural Resources and the Environment, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, PO Box 320, Stellenbosch 3599, South Africa
3
Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
4
Centre for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 February 2014 / Revised: 7 May 2014 / Accepted: 27 May 2014 / Published: 12 June 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environment in Sustainable Development)
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Abstract

The gap between science and practice has been highlighted in a number of scientific disciplines, including the newly developing domain of ecosystem service science, posing a challenge for the sustainable management of ecosystem services for human wellbeing. While methods to explore science-practice gaps are developing, testing and revisions of these methods are still needed so as to identify opportunities for mainstreaming ecosystem service science into development policies and practice. We designed and tested an approach to explore the presence and nature of a research-management gap in order to identify ways to close the gap, using a South African case study. Our combining of traditional review processes with stakeholder interviews highlighted that ecosystem services are not explicitly referred to by the majority of ecosystem management-related documents, processes or individuals. Nevertheless, at the local level, our approach unearthed strategic opportunities for bridging the gap in the tourism, disaster management and conservation sectors. We also highlighted the current trend towards transdisciplinary learning networks seen in the region. While we found a gap between the research and management of ecosystem services, a rigorous study thereof, which transcends its mere identification, proved useful in identifying key opportunities and challenges for bridging the gap. View Full-Text
Keywords: land-use planning; ecosystem management; communication divide; mainstreaming; multi-stakeholder engagement; sustainable development land-use planning; ecosystem management; communication divide; mainstreaming; multi-stakeholder engagement; sustainable development
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Sitas, N.; Prozesky, H.E.; Esler, K.J.; Reyers, B. Exploring the Gap between Ecosystem Service Research and Management in Development Planning. Sustainability 2014, 6, 3802-3824.

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