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Title: Is the ecosystem service concept improving impact assessment? Evidence from recent international practice

Considering ecosystem services (ES) could foster innovation and improve environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) practice, but is the potential being fulfilled? In order to investigate how ES have been treated in recent international practice, three questions are asked: (i) were the tasks of an ES analysis carried out? (ii) how is such analysis integrated with other analysis presented in the ESIA? (iii) does ES analysis result in additional or improved mitigation or enhancement measures? These research questions were unfolded into 15 auxiliary questions for reviewing five ESIA reports prepared for mining, hydroelectric and transportation infrastructure projects in Africa, Asia and South America. All cases incorporated ES into ESIA to meet a requirement of the International Finance Corporation's Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability. It was found that: (i) in only three cases most tasks recommended by current guidance were adopted (ii) all reports feature a dedicated ES chapter or section, but in three of them no evidence was found that the ES analysis was integrated within impact assessment (iii) in the two ESIAs that followed guidance, ES analysis resulted in specific mitigation measures. Few evidence was found that the ES concept is improving current ESIA practice. Key challengesmore » are: (i) integrating ES analysis in such a way that it does not duplicate other analysis; (ii) adequately characterizing the beneficiaries of ES; and (iii) quantifying ES supply for impact prediction. - Highlights: • Incorporating ecosystem services analysis in impact assessment can improve results. • Additional impacts and mitigation were identified. • Challenges include developing appropriate indicators for impact prediction. • A key challenge is integrating the concept in such a way that it does not duplicate other analysis.« less
Authors:
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22447510
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Impact Assessment Review; Journal Volume: 50; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2014 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; AFRICA; ASIA; ECOSYSTEMS; FORECASTING; MINING; MITIGATION; PERFORMANCE; REVIEWS; SOCIAL IMPACT; SOUTH AMERICA; SPECIES DIVERSITY; SUSTAINABILITY