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Human-Nature Nexuses in Brazil: Monitoring Production of Economic & Ecosystem Services in Historical Series

October 26, 2017 |

This paper was originally published in Ecosystem Services.


  • Gross Domestic Product and ecosystem services are calculated for Brazil over time.
  • Ecosystem service value is consistently higher than Gross Domestic Product.
  • Emergy is used to quantify the resources needed to generate valuable services.
  • The national economy is less effective in producing services than ecosystems.
  • Ecosystem service flows oscillate less over time than economic outputs.

Abstract: Human-Nature nexuses are evident when we evaluate the different contributions of economic systems and ecosystems to human well-being. In this paper, the amount of services for well-being and the effectiveness in producing them has been assessed for the national economy and national ecosystem mosaic of Brazil, in historical series (1981–2011).

The emergy methodology has been used as a tool able to evaluate different contributions to well-being on the same basis, thus allowing rightful comparisons. Results show that the monetary value of Nature’s contributions to national welfare is higher than contributions from the economy. Furthermore, ecosystems provide services in a more effective and sustainable way, relying on a lower amount of total resources and using exclusively renewable resources.

In addition, Nature’s contributions are almost constant throughout the historical series considered, where services from the economy oscillate, representing a less stable source of well-being. This study confirms results already highlighted at the global and national scales by previous studies, adding a time-series perspective to that. These results inspire a re-consideration of the interactions among the biosphere and the technosphere in order to better address trade-offs between different forms of services…”

Read on and access the full paper at: Ecosystem Services.

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