Call for papers for Special Volume of the Journal of Cleaner Production On “Ecological Compensation: a pathway to improve regional sustainability”
• 大类 : 环境科学与生态学 - 1区
• 小类 : 工程：环境 - 2区
• 小类 : 环境科学 - 2区
The common consensus to achieve a global sustainability requires a secure and continuous supply of ecosystem services that contribute to human well-being (Griggs, et al. 2013). The ecosystem service concept is an important integrated framework in sustainability science (Liu, et al., 2015), the term ecosystem services (ES) is more often explicitly mentioned in the objectives of international policy which aim to ensure human well-being and the sustainability of the planet, e.g. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Conventional of Biological Diversity (CBD) Aichi Targets.
Payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs harness the power of markets to generate sustainability and to minimize negative environmental externalities. By paying ES providers to adopt practices that bolster environmental services, the provision of clean and plentiful water, and the conservation of biological diversity, PES can provide farmers with the critical financial incentives to invest in, and manage, new techniques for resource efficient and sustainable production that will allow us to meet the agricultural, environmental, and societal demands of the future. Eco-compensation (Eco-C) has been considering as the Chinese version of PES which is a public rule to regulate by means of government action or the market the interest relationships among stakeholders during the ecological protection process according to ecosystem service value, ecological protection cost and developmental opportunity cost. The main differences between PES and Eco-C can be found on connotation of mechanism (incentive or punishment), accounting method (based on compensation willingness of the beneficiaries or scientific and fair accounting factors), compensation mode (market mechanism or government-led mode), compensation approach (financial payment or non-financial compensation), source of compensation funding (market transactions or government entities) and effect evaluating schemes (on effectiveness or on performance) (Liu, et al. 2018).
Challenges and difficulties in designing and promoting more sustainable compensation mechanisms can be systemized as following questions:
1. How to properly compensate ES providers’ development opportunities and how to motivate all stakeholders participate the compensation project?
The reasonable solution of these questions relies on development of incentive compensation mechanism. The mechanism must include:
1) Clear and systematic analysis of dynamic relations between stakeholders
ES provision is a dynamic process that involved various stakeholders in both temporal and spatial dimension. Each stakeholder benefices differently from the ES based on their location/position in the ecosystem and on their economic development requirement. Systematic carding dynamic relation of stakeholders helps to indicate the conflict between environment protection and economic development and find feasible compensation mechanism to balance development opportunities of all stakeholders.
2) Justified compensation standards and approaches
In order to establish the compensation mechanism, the core concept is to set justified compensation standards and approaches for incentive and sustainable objectives. First step of standard setting is to comprehensively calculate the monetary valuation of ES. However, the cost and accuracy of measuring the willing of stakeholders to benefice or to abandon the ES are always key problems of the valuation methods. Moreover, the dynamic evolution process of ecosystem is also difficult to estimate. Furthermore, compensation standard need to be determined for incenting all stakeholders participates and provides more financial resources to compensate ES providers’ development opportunities.
2. How to assess the stability and sustainability of a compensation mechanism? and how the assessment result may contribute the concept of ecological compensation in the future?
In the literature, most of studies analyzed the cost/gain allocation within cooperative or non-cooperative ecological compensation mechanism for different stakeholders. However, analysis on the stability and fairness of the gain/cost allocation have been rarely addressed (Shi, et al. 2016). If the gain/cost allocation is not stable and fair, then ecological compensation mechanism will not persist and the goal of sustainability will be reach. An analysis of cooperation fairness and stability can thus be helpful to stakeholders who are making long-term decisions. Furthermore, we should learn from the results from analyzing and evaluating existing mechanisms to enhance stability and sustainability in the design of new compensation mechanisms.
Therefore, we organize a Virtual Special Issue in the Journal of Cleaner Production addressing “Ecological Compensation: a pathway to improve regional sustainability” in for surveying novel assessment methods of ecological compensation, sharing analytical experience on stability and sustainability of existing ecological compensation projects, and presenting new methods of ecological compensation concept to achieve a better project stability and a better regional sustainability. JCLP has published quite a few papers addressing regional sustainability. Discussing such topics helps the practitioners to better position in the ecological compensation project and to make reasonable long-term decisions, and helps scholars to learn the scientific advancements for establishing more sustainable ecological compensation mechanism. Related themes include:
Theme 1: How to evaluate the performance of ecological compensation in improving regional sustainability?
The traditional objective of performance evaluation is to maximizing corporate value by focusing on the economic consequences without considering the ecological environment, social responsibility and other non-financial factors. This is apparently inconsistent with the requirements of sustainable development. The performance evaluation of sustainable development focuses on revealing how the ecological compensation mechanism influence both financial and sustainable objectives of stakeholders.
Theme 2: What methods can be used in evaluating ecosystem services and design ecological compensation policy?
Considering the dynamic evolution characteristics of ecosystem services and also different values and information among multi stakeholders, it is necessary to develop integrated and holistic approach and methods. For example, to use Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) to address the requirements of monetization by quantifying the severity of each adverse effect or the magnitude of possible damages to the ecosystem. Using the ERA in monetary evaluation of ES allows us to consider its dynamic evolution characteristic and provide more accurate results. Also big data techniques may reduce the time and financial cost of collecting stakeholders’ willing to conserve or to abandon ES (Xie, et al. 2017). They may also improve the accuracy to estimate this willing in order to obtain a more justified overall valuation of such ES. The increasing computing power and big data contribute to sustainability challenges and more informed decision making by sophisticated monitoring modeling (lIieva, et al, 2018).
Theme 3: Improvement of mechanism stability of ecological compensation through game theory-based design.
Game theory is generally employed to study such problems because it permits the analysis of the strategies and behaviors of different stakeholders under certain behavioral assumptions. By adding the consideration of mechanism stability, related studies should provide clear theoretical analysis and empirical evidence how regional gain allocation may affect the sustainability of cooperation (Liu and Xia, 2016).
Theme 4: Integrate life cycle assessment with ecosystem services and ecological compensation
LCA is an important tool to assess environmental impacts of product for whole life cycle. But most of current studies have not well considered ecosystem services in the assessment (Zhang, 2010). Better understanding and methods to integrate LCA and ecosystem services will help us to develop more accurate ecological compensation policies to address whole life cycle and improve regional sustainability.