chapter  25
27 Pages

Ecosystem services: A new rationale for conservation of upland environments


The challenge for the conservation of upland environments is to increase understanding and awareness that their protection and enhancement is relevant to people. Then society can take actions that shape sustainable solutions for society and the natural environment. We also need to understand what the most appropriate actions to take are, and how to align different societal pressures and choices to achieve the best solutions for the environment and for society (MacDonald et al., 2007). This book has identified the many benefits healthy upland environments can provide, and how these benefits can be easily diminished. Choices about land use and management that focus consistently on resolving the existing pressures and stresses faced by upland ecosystems and communities will help them to adapt more readily and successfully to future pressures, especially those brought about by climate change. Many different sectors of society, such as agriculture, tourism and recreation, management for game, forestry, industry, transport and others, have an impact on the uplands either directly or indirectly through their decisions and actions. We argue here that by adopting a more holistic ecosystem approach to decision-making, whereby the consequences of actions on all aspects of the ecosystem are fully considered, we could help to avoid unintended negative environmental consequences and better secure the value of the uplands for both their tangible benefits to society and their intrinsic worth.