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    A general systems analysis of current approaches to payments for ecosystem services reveals a weakness, a missing feedback that ought to be in place pushing the system toward its goal of balancing human needs with the adaptive capacity of ecosystems. In situations of rising demand for ecosystem services among limited means for producing them, the likelihood that payment systems effectively shift, but do not preclude ecosystem service losses is high. We propose that explicit price or information signals to ecosystem services consumers would create the necessary feedback, thereby "closing the loop," and increasing the likelihood that efforts to stem declines in ecosystem services will succeed. To date, attention for this feedback loop has been more casual than concerted. As a result, PES systems have perhaps left unharnessed the full range of opportunities to reduce the growing deficit between rates of ecosystem service supply and the rate that society utilizes (and in many cases, impacts) them. The importance of the construction and conceptualization of these feedback loops, among the various tools at hand for adaptive responses to the challenges of sustainable development, are discussed.

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    Patterson, Trista M.; Coelho, Dana L. 2008. Chapter 5 - Missing Feedback in Payments for Ecosystem Services. In: Creating sustainability within our midst: challenges for the 21st century. 2008. Pace University Press: 61-72


    Ecosystem services, complex systems, feedback, consumption, supply and demand

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