Imperiled: The Encyclopedia of Conservation - Cultural Ecosystem Services—Key to Address Pressing Environmental Concerns of Climate Change and Biodiversity Decline

Elsevier, Imperiled: The Encyclopedia of Conservation, 2022, Pages 216-221
Kamaljit K. Sangha

Cultural Ecosystem Services (CES) represent a direct link between people and natural systems. Unlike many non-Indigenous people, Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) have often maintained their cultural values over millennia through applying norms and regulations to manage their landscapes and sustain livelihoods. IPLCs’ astute management not only supports their sustenance but also provides ecosystem services (ES) for the wider public such as climate and water regulation, protection of biodiversity, and resource security. This article discusses common environmental concerns, the role of IPLCs in protecting the environment, and proposes an integrated framework on the importance of CES and related IPLCs practices to manage natural landscapes. It further describes the associated challenges, mechanisms, and potential opportunities for the IPLCs. Comprehending CES from an integrated ecological, social and economic perspective is essential for policy decision makers to develop appropriate financial support mechanisms for IPLCs to effectively manage their lands. CES can play a pivotal role in sustainably managing natural resources in the Anthropocene. This integrated approach can help protect ecosystems, improve people’s well-being, and ensure the flow and continuity of ES for the present and future generations.