At the heart of global sustainability efforts is the field of ecosystem services—nature’s many invaluable contributions to humanity. But to deliver knowledge about values, which is needed to guide decisions, ecosystem services research needs to integrate ecological research with information about social values, including access to and demand for the benefits that nature provides.
This paper finds that although the field of ecosystem services initially lacked much social or policy research, these elements have increased substantially in recent years. However, there is still very little research that attempts to put a value (monetary or otherwise) on changes in ecological benefits, although the values of changes are central to the field of ecosystem services. The field has thus matured somewhat, but more progress is needed for ecosystem services to contribute meaningfully to sustainability and improved decisions about nature.