Service-benefit-value: The mapping of ecosystem services as ethical practice

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Marine spatial planning (MSP) can be understood as mapping and (re)bordering a three-dimensional landscape in time and space. We theorize MSP in Southern Sweden by the environmental ethics expressed in Torsten Hägerstrand’s time-geography. By doing this, we are able to pose questions about wise resource use and human-environment interaction.

In Southern Swedish municipalities, MSP is typically coordinated by one ecologist and one planner. The ecologist is primarily concerned with conservation and can be said to act as ‘the voice of nature’. The planner focuses on use and is concerned with distribution of activities in time and space. When mapping the marine three-dimensional landscape, one of their tools is ecosystem services.

We show how MSP is a process where economic issues associated with costs are transformed into values of environmental stewardship and sustainability ethics via the notion of benefits. Ecosystem services are used as a pedagogical tool to communicate with politicians in terms of municipal benefits, and with the public in terms of the values of caring for the environment.

We conclude that the landscape of sustainability ethics resulting from MSP is dependent on (1) the combination of ecological and planning practices, and (2) the mediating function of ecosystem services. The result is that MSP can be understood as time-geography in practice where ecosystem services are used to dissolve the border between environment and society to create a new fluid landscape of environmental ethics.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Human Geography
  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Original languageSwedish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020
Publication categoryResearch
EventRGS-IBG, Annual International Conference 2020 - Royal Geographical Society, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 2020 Sep 22020 Sep 4


ConferenceRGS-IBG, Annual International Conference 2020
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address