Ecosystems and human well-being

Butler, Colin, Chambers, Robert, Chopra, Kanchan, Dasgupta, Partha, Duraiappah, Anantha Kumar, Kumar, Pushpam, McMichael, Tony A. J. and Niu, Wen-Yuan 2003, Ecosystems and human well-beingEcosystems and human well-being a framework for assessment, Island Press, Washington, D.C., pp.71-84.

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Title Ecosystems and human well-being
Author(s) Butler, Colin
Chambers, Robert
Chopra, Kanchan
Dasgupta, Partha
Duraiappah, Anantha Kumar
Kumar, Pushpam
McMichael, Tony A. J.
Niu, Wen-Yuan
Title of book Ecosystems and human well-being a framework for assessment
Publication date 2003
Chapter number 3
Total chapters 8
Start page 71
End page 84
Total pages 14
Publisher Island Press
Place of Publication Washington, D.C.
Summary ■ Human well-being has several key components: the basic material needs for a good life, freedom and choice, health, good social relations, and personal security. Well-being exists on a continuum with poverty, which has been defined as"pronounced deprivation in well-being."
■ How well-being and ill-being, or poverty, are expressed and experienced is context- and situation-dependent, reflecting local social and personal factors such as geography, ecology, age, gender,and culture.These concepts are complex and value-laden.
■ Ecosystems are essential for human well-being through their provisioning, regulating, cultural, and supporting services. Evidence in recent decades of escalating human impacts. on ecological systems worldwide raises concerns about the consequences of ecosystem changes for human well-being.
■ Human well-being can be enhanced through sustainable human interaction with ecosystems with the support of appropriate instruments, institutions, organizations, and technology. creation of these through participation and transparency may contribute to people's freedoms and choices and to increased economic, social,and ecological security.
■ Some believe that the problems from the depletion and degradation of ecological capital can be largely overcome by the substitution of physical and human capital. Others believe that there are more significant limits to such substitutions.The scope for substitutions varies by socioeconomic status.
■ We identify direct and indirect pathways between ecosystem change and human well-being,whether it be positive or negative.lndirect effects are characterized by more complex webs of causation, involving social, economic, and political threads. Threshold points exist beyond which rapid changes to human well-being can occur.
■ Indigent poorly resourced, and otherwise disadvantaged communities are generally the most vulnerable to adverse ecosystem change. Spirals, both positive and negative, can occur for any population, but the poor are more vulnerable.      
■ Functioning institutions are vital to enable equitable access to ecosystem services. lnstitutions sometimes fail or remain undeveloped because of powerful individuals or groups. Bodies that mediate the distribution of goods and services may also be appropriated for the benefit of powerful minorities.
■ For poor people, the greatest gains in well-being will occur through more equitable and secure access to ecosystem services. In the long run, the rich can contribute greatly to human well-being by reducing their substantial impacts on ecosystems and by facilitating greater access to ecosystem services by the poor.
■ We argue ecological security warrants recognition as a sixth freedom of equal weight with participative freedom, economic   facilities, social opportunities, transparency guarantees, and protective security.
ISBN 1559634022
Language eng
Field of Research 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category B1.1 Book chapter
Copyright notice ©2003, Island Press
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Document type: Book Chapter
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Health and Social Development
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