Human societies and their economic systems ultimately depend on natural ecosystems, especially wetlands. The fact that mainstream economics theories neglect this fact has been identified as one of the key causes of current environmental degradation. Reconnecting the economic systems with the underlying ecological systems is one of the key objectives of the ecological and environmental economists. With this goal in mind, they started developing the concept of “ecosystem service” in the 1970’s.
Ecosystem services are defined as the « benefits that individuals derive from ecosytems”. This concept is still little known from the socio-economic networks and in the field of development policies, in which the notions of benefits and impacts are based on other concepts, most notably those of “sustainable livelihood”. The MWO has therefore developed links between these 2 concepts, in order to promote a shared understanding of the indicators selected.
Despite the growing importance of the concept of ecosystem services in recent years, especially in developed countries, no indicator has been defined yet to monitor them at the international scale. However, important efforts are ongoing so as to bridge this gap. The MWO proposes to ultimately monitor four of them, for which results are not yet available at the Mediterranean scale: