Tourism in sub-global assessments of ecosystem services

Andrew Church, T. Coles, Robert Fish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Published in 2005, the United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) stressed that influencing governments, businesses and communities to address the supra-national challenge of limiting biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation requires a fuller understanding of the range of values and benefits people derive from ecosystems, including tourism. The MA was informed by, and has shaped, several conceptually and methodologically distinctive sub-global assessments (SGAs) of ecosystem services. Through content analysis, this paper is the first detailed examination of how tourism features in 14 extant SGAs identified in a database held by a major supra-national environmental organization. Although the SGAs should have incorporated the widest range of specialist subject expertise, tourism scholars played only peripheral roles in producing them even for territories where tourism is a significant land use. The SGAs examined did not benefit from the extensive body of knowledge relating to sustainable tourism. Limited portrayals of tourism restrict the capacity of SGAs in their current format as management solutions. It is also contradictory to the ethos, principles and purpose of ecosystem assessments. With the ecosystem services perspective set to become more important to policy and decision making, the paper argues for greater incorporation of recent progress in sustainable tourism in ecosystem assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1529-1546
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Sustainable Tourism on 20/03/2017, available online:


  • Ecosystem services
  • sub-global assessment
  • sustainable tourism


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