The ecosystem services concept as a tool for public participation in management of Poland's Natura 2000 network

Krzysztof Maczka, Piotr Chmielewski, Agnieszka Jeran, Piotr Matczak, Carena J. van Riper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examined how the ecosystem services (ES) concept was employed as a tool for stakeholders from different social and professional worlds to deliberate about the management of Natura 2000 areas in Poland. Drawing from Framing Theory and discourse analysis, we analyzed public documents that were generated over a five-year period. We observed that many public debates were couched within the ES framework and related to management of a range of land cover categories. Our results also indicated the majority of public discussions were descriptive and neutral, with a focus on maintaining the flow of Provisioning, and Regulation and Maintenance services to local communities. Normative tones were adopted, particularly surrounding Cultural ES, despite the limited amount of time that stakeholders dedicated to exploring these topics. Our results reinforce the importance of considering the ES concept as a boundary object that maintains interpretive flexibility and focuses stakeholder attention on points of potential social conflict. The implications that emerge from this research are particularly relevant for protected areas, such as those found in Poland, which are reforming environmental protection plans and seeking communication tools to facilitate public participation, environmental sustainability, and more equitable policy outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-183
Number of pages11
JournalEcosystem Services
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Ecosystem services
  • Land cover
  • Management plans
  • Natura 2000
  • Public participation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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