Plural valuation of nature for equity and sustainability : Insights from the Global South

Zafra-Calvo, Noelia; Balvanera, Patricia; Pascual, Unai; Merçon, Juliana; Martín-López, Berta; Noordwijk, Meine van; Mwampamba, Tuyeni Heita; Lele, Sharachchandra; Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe; Arias-Arévalo, Paola; Cabrol, Diego; Cáceres, Daniel M.; O'Farrell, Patrick; Subramanian, Suneetha Mazhenchery; Devy, Soubadra; Krishnan, Siddhartha; Carmenta, Rachel; Guibrunet, Louise; Kraus-Elsin, Yoanna; Moersberger, Hannah; Cariño, Joji; Díaz, Sandra


Plural valuation is about eliciting the diverse values of nature articulated by different stakeholders in order to inform decision making and thus achieve more equitable and sustainable outcomes. We explore what approaches align with plural valuation on the ground, as well as how different social-ecological contexts play a role in translating plural valuation into decisions and outcomes. Based on a co-constructed analytical approach relying on empirical information from ten cases from the Global South, we find that plural valuation contributes to equitable and sustainable outcomes if the valuation process: 1) is based on participatory value elicitation approaches; 2) is framed with a clear action-oriented purpose; 3) provides space for marginalized stakeholders to articulate their values in ways that can be included in decisions; 4) is used as a tool to identify and help reconcile different cognitive models about human-nature relations; and 5) fosters open communication and collaboration among stakeholders. We also find that power asymmetries can hinder plural valuation. As interest and support for undertaking plural valuation grows, a deeper understanding is needed regarding how it can be adapted to different purposes, approaches, and social-ecological contexts in order to contribute to social equity and sustainability.