Mainstreaming of ecosystem services as a rationale for ecological restoration in Australia

Virginia Matzek, Kerrie A. Wilson, Marit Kragt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Conservation biology and restoration ecology have historically focused on promoting biodiversity and safeguarding endangered species. However, the ecosystem services (ES) concept has given these fields a new, anthropocentric rationale: promoting human wellbeing. Here we investigate how the ES concept has penetrated decision making and public support for ecological restoration in Australia, by examining the national government's funding priorities, land managers’ project goals, and the public's willingness to pay for restoration. We find that national funding priorities and local project implementation have thoroughly mainstreamed the ES concept, and that the public is generally supportive of ES goals. More than half of projects awarded funding, and two-thirds of land managers’ implemented projects, had explicit ES goals. Among managers who participated in semi-structured interviews, 45% rated ES aims as at least as important as biodiversity aims in their projects. The public was more willing to donate to a restoration scenario that included ES than one that did not, and 41% of the public chose an ES as the preferred outcome of restoration. Across all groups, provisioning services were the least preferred ES outcome, compared to regulating or cultural services. Our results indicate that ES are now important rationales for restoration funding and implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
JournalEcosystem Services
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


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