published on Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability (online first)
Scholars have argued that the success of conservation instruments depends on improved scientific knowledge in linking ecosystem functioning with value-reflecting prices to optimize the production and delivery of ecosystem services (ES). However, these scholars assume that greater sophistication of scientific inquiry rests on ES thinking, without recognizing that the ES framework represents one social rationality in articulating human–nature relationships. Here, we discuss why a singular focus on ‘getting the science right’ for environmental policy oversimplifies the many socio-political consequences underlying the use of ES as an ‘objective’ science. We argue that the process of doing science through reflection on social diversity and power dimensions better reveals the extent to which PES interventions are perceived, debated, negotiated and strategically adapted.