The concept of ecosystem services (ESs) has become a popular tool for science that aims to support decision making for sustainable management of natural resources. With the aim to integrate nature’s diverse values in decisions and to reach effective actions, it is recommended that valuations begin with a participatory identification of the most relevant ESs to be included in the assessment. Despite being a crucial step directly influencing decision making, experiences of researchers with real-life applications are seldom reported. Our aim is to advance the organization and implementation of participatory ES identification and selection by providing a self-reflective description and discussion of 5 case studies (CSs). A self-evaluation workshop was organized among the researchers involved in the CSs to gather factors of success and failure encountered throughout the process. From this reflection, we suggest a list of 11 recommendations. We use a wide range of the literature on participatory research evaluation to guide our reflection and demonstrate the relevance of participatory science to the field of ESs. Reflexivity proved to be an essential aspect of sharing lessons learned and advancing methodology toward real-life impact.
- Ecosystem services
- Integrated ecosystem service valuation
- Natural resource management