Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Ecosystem services and the idea of shared values

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mark Reed



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Ecosystem services conceptualise the diverse values that ecosystems provide to humanity. This was recognised in the United Kingdom's National Ecosystem Assessment, which noted that appreciation of the full value of ecosystem services requires recognition of values that are shared. By operationalising the shared values concept, it is argued that the contribution of ecosystem services to human well-being can be represented more holistically. This paper considers current understanding of shared values and develops a new metanarrative of shared values beyond the aggregated utilities of individuals. This metanarrative seeks to conceptualise how values can be held both individually and communally, and what this means for identifying their scale and means of enumeration. The paper poses a new reading of the idea of shared values that reconciles the elicitation of preformed individual values with the formation and expression of shared social values. The implication is that shared values need to be conceived as normative constructs that are derived through social processes of value formation and expression. Shared values thus do not necessarily exist a priori; they can be deliberated through formal and informal processes through which individuals can separate their own preferences from a broader metanarrative about what values ought to be shared.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Irvine KN, O'Brien L, Ravenscroft N, Cooper N, Everard M, Fazey I, Reed MS, Kenter JO

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Ecosystem Services

Year: 2016

Volume: 21

Issue: Part B

Pages: 184-193

Print publication date: 01/10/2016

Online publication date: 21/10/2016

Acceptance date: 01/07/2016

Date deposited: 22/02/2017

ISSN (print): 2212-0416

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2016.07.001


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Scottish Government Rural and Economic Sciences and Analytical Service Division
UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-On (Work Package 6: Shared, Plural and Cultural Values) - UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
Welsh Government
315925European Union Seventh Framework Programme