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Whale Ecosystem Services and Co-production Processes Underpinning Human Wellbeing in the Arctic: Case Studies from Greenland, Iceland and Norway

The concept of ecosystem services (ES) has only just begun to be applied in the Arctic, and to an even lesser extent to marine mammals, such as whales. This chapter develops an ES cascade model and related ES co-production processes as they apply to whale resources in the Arctic. The result is a new conceptual model demonstrating the interconnectedness of social-ecological processes involving natural and human capital that enhance human wellbeing through the co-creation of whale ES. An ES cascade model is presented for whale ES, which connects the five linked stages of such ES production: the biophysical structure, functions, ecosystem services, the benefits to human wellbeing, and associated values. They are further expanded to include the co-production processes of whale ES as well as its main stages, inputs, and flows. These processes are illustrated using examples from ARCPATH case studies of coastal communities dependent on whale resources: Húsavík in Iceland, Andenes in Norway, and Ilulissat/Disko Bay in Greenland. The chapter aims to improve the understanding of the human dimensions of ES and the underlying processes that enable Arctic coastal communities to benefit from whales. It provides a starting point for further analysis of possible research and management approaches regarding whale resources in the Arctic.

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Co-production processes underpinning the ecosystem services of glaciers and adaptive management in the era of climate change

Glaciers have been an increasingly studied topic in the ecosystem services (ES) literature, with multiple scientific studies affirming a critical and diverse contribution to human well-being. However, the literature to date on glacier ES has lacked a systematic analysis of their type and the various stages in the formation of glacier ES, including the linkages between biophysical structures and ecological processes to human values, benefits and well-being. This paper begins to fill this gap by (1) detailing the first Common International Classification for Ecosystem Services classification of ES specific to glaciers; and (2) constructing an ES cascade model specific to the ES of glaciers, integrating four main stages of co-production: value attribution, mobilisation of ES potential, value appropriation, and commercialisation. In both stages, examples from the academic and grey literature are highlighted. Based on a systematic literature review, a total of 15 ES are identified, categorised as follows: provisioning (2), regulation and maintenance (6), and cultural (7). Apart from abiotic regulation and maintenance ES, it is evident that human interventions are necessary in order to mobilise, appropriate and commercialise several glacier ES, including freshwater for drinking, hydropower generation, recreation and education. Rapidly intensifying climate change has led to intense focus on the initial co-production process of value attribution and identification of dynamic ES potential, with a view to maximising commercial benefits in the coming decades where this is possible, especially linked to hydropower generation from glacial rivers. However, this study also finds that adaptive ecosystem management is a necessary pre-requisite of resilience but may be insufficient in this context to address potential ecosystem disservices and potentially catastrophic impacts to human well-being, such as from dangerous glacier outburst floods.

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A cascade model and initial exploration of co-production processes underpinning the ecosystem services of geothermal areas

This paper presents the first study in the academic literature to explore the various stages in the formation of geothermal ES and their interactions between the biosphere and anthroposphere. This is achieved through the development of the first ES cascade model in the academic literature specific to geothermal ES, which integrates the four main stages of co-production: value attribution, mobilisation of ES potential, value appropriation, and commercialisation. In so doing, conceptual understanding of human-environment relationships and processes in the context of geothermal ES are deepened. Examples from the academic and grey literature demonstrate that realisation of the full spectrum of benefits from geothermal areas often demands the mobilisation of various forms of physical capital. Reaping the benefits of provisioning ES, such as heat and minerals, or formal recreational experiences, such as geothermal spas, necessitates human interventions. Opportunities of likely value have to be attributed, with resources being mobilised in order to plan and research prospectivity, then benefits appropriated with a view to their commercialisation. Large-scale, industrial projects, especially geothermal power plants in high enthalpy fields, also constitute an overlap between anthropogenic and ecological systems, often leading to ES trade-offs, especially due to visual and noise impacts on the surroundings. Depending on the sociocultural context, multiple and conflicting value domains may be impacted by such ventures, justifying the adoption of a pluralist approach to valuation and use of integrated decision-support platforms to aid decision-makers.

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