Sander Jacobs, Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO)
Nicolas Dendoncker, University of Namur
Berta Martin-Lopez, Leuphana University
David Nicholas Barton, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA)
Erik Gomez-Baggethun, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)
Fanny Boeraeve, Université de Liège
Francesca L. McGrath, National University of Singapore
Kati Vierikko, University of Helsinki
Davide Geneletti, University of Trento
Katharina J. Sevecke, ESCP Europe Business School Berlin
Nathalie Pipart, University of Namur
Eeva Primmer, Finnish Environment Institute
Peter Mederly, Université de Liège
Stefan Schmidt, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
Alexandra Aragao, University of Coimbra
Himlal Baral, University of Melbourne
Rosalind H. Bark, University of Leeds
Tania Briceno, Earth Economics
Delphine Brogna, University of Namur
Pedro Cabral, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Rik De Vreese, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Camino Liquete, European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC)
Hannah Mueller, University of Waikato
Kelvin S.H. Peh, University of Southampton
Anna Phelan, University of Queensland
Alexander R. Rincon, Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Research on Biological Resources
Shannon H. Rogers, Plymouth State University
Francis Turkelboom, Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO)
Wouter Van Reeth, Research Institute for Nature and Forest INBO
Boris T. van Zanten, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Hilde Karine Wam, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research
Carla-Leanne Washbourne, University College London


We are increasingly confronted with severe social and economic impacts of environmental degradation all over the world. From a valuation perspective, environmental problems and conflicts originate from trade-offs between values. The urgency and importance to integrate nature's diverse values in decisions and actions stand out more than ever.

Valuation, in its broad sense of ‘assigning importance’, is inherently part of most decisions on natural resource and land use. Scholars from different traditions -while moving from heuristic interdisciplinary debate to applied transdisciplinary science- now acknowledge the need for combining multiple disciplines and methods to represent the diverse set of values of nature. This growing group of scientists and practitioners share the ambition to explore how combinations of ecological, socio-cultural and economic valuation tools can support real-life resource and land use decision-making.

The current sustainability challenges and the ineffectiveness of single-value approaches to offer relief demonstrate that continuing along a single path is no option. We advocate for the adherence of a plural valuation culture and its establishment as a common practice, by contesting and complementing ineffective and discriminatory single-value approaches. In policy and decision contexts with a willingness to improve sustainability, integrated valuation approaches can be blended in existing processes, whereas in contexts of power asymmetries or environmental conflicts, integrated valuation can promote the inclusion of diverse values through action research and support the struggle for social and environmental justice.

The special issue and this editorial synthesis paper bring together lessons from pioneer case studies and research papers, synthesizing main challenges and setting out priorities for the years to come for the field of integrated valuation.

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Ecosystem Services

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© 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.


This is an Open Access article published by Elsevier in Ecosystem Services in 2016, available online: