Why nature matters: A systematic review of intrinsic, instrumental, and relational values

BioScience 74 (1) (2024)
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In this article, we present results from a literature review of intrinsic, instrumental, and relational values of nature conducted for the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, as part of the Methodological Assessment of the Diverse Values and Valuations of Nature. We identify the most frequently recurring meanings in the heterogeneous use of different value types and their association with worldviews and other key concepts. From frequent uses, we determine a core meaning for each value type, which is sufficiently inclusive to serve as an umbrella over different understandings in the literature and specific enough to help highlight its difference from the other types of values. Finally, we discuss convergences, overlapping areas, and fuzzy boundaries between different value types to facilitate dialogue, reduce misunderstandings, and improve the methods for valuation of nature's contributions to people, including ecosystem services, to inform policy and direct future research. © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences.



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Henrik Thorén
Lund University
Melissa Fernandez
Northern Arizona University
Barbara Muraca
Oregon State University
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