Temporal scales, ecosystem dynamics, stakeholders and the valuation of ecosystems services

Lars Hein*, C.S.A.K. van Koppen, Ekko C. van Ierland, Jakob Leidekker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Temporal dimensions are highly relevant to the analysis of ecosystem services and their economic value. In this paper, we provide a framework that can be used for analyzing temporal dimensions of ecosystem services, we present a case study including an analysis of the supply of three ecosystem services in a Dutch national park, the Hoge Veluwe, over a time span of around a century, and we analyze the implications of temporal scales for ecosystem services analysis and valuation and ecosystem management. Our paper shows there can be major shifts in the values attributed to specific ecosystem services at time scales of decades or less. Changes in values at these time scales and are not commonly included in cost benefit analysis of ecosystem management options or natural capital accounts. Yet – given the long time lapse with which ecosystems may respond to management – these changes are highly relevant. We argue that ecosystem managers using cost benefit analysis should be aware of both uncertainties and of temporal changes in ecosystem values, and – to deal with unexpected changes in ecosystem services values - consider management strategies that target multiple ecosystem services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-119
JournalEcosystem Services
Issue numberPart A
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Ecosystem services
  • National park
  • Stakeholder preferences
  • Temporal scales
  • Uncertainty


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