Via the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) research programme, a new report has been released by Resource Media on public communications strategies and “messaging” for ecosystem service policies. The report was developed through in-depth interviews with ecosystems services practitioners, government officials, and other stakeholders, through a survey of media and digital coverage of ecosystem services projects, and a review of a wide range of materials produced by practitioners. The report finds that out of 16 terms to describe the benefits of nature, “ecosystem services” and “natural capital” ranked 13th and 15th, respectively, as the terms were found to be difficult to understand and inadequate in conveying meaning by those surveyed.
On messaging, the report recommends a clearer discussion of nature’s value and benefits instead of using the term ‘ecosystem services’. To achieve this, it recommends discussing specific lands and areas, the acknowledgement of nature’s intangible and incalculable benefits, increased emphasis on the gap in traditional economic analysis’s ability to understand and quantify nature’s benefits, and using plain English over jargon.