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On how to define, assess and improve the governance of agro-ecosystem services

Bachev, Hrabrin (2020): On how to define, assess and improve the governance of agro-ecosystem services.

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Abstract

(Agro)ecosystem services is a „new“ term, which is rapidly and widely used in academic studies, and policies and business practices around the globe. Nevertheless, in many countries around the globe, studies associated with agroecosystem services and their „management“ are at the beginning stage. This article suggests a holistic framework for defining, evaluating and improving the system of governance of agro-ecosystem services. The interdisciplinary Theory of Ecosystem Services and the New Institutional Economy are adapted, and the governance of agroecosystem services defined, various related agents identified, principle forms and mechanisms of governance classified, an adequate criterion for assessing efficiency formulated, and stages for analysis and improvement of the system of governance characterized. The proposed new approach is based on the „building up“ of a hierarchy of agro-ecosystems and services related to its different levels, and an assessment of the efficiency and complementarities of the governance modes and mechanisms, corresponding to each level of „provision“ of agroecosystem services.

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