Abstract. In an era of globalization, human-nature relationships change, with important implications for human wellbeing and the environment. In particular, increasing urbanization can profoundly affect ecosystem service provision, people’s preferences for these services and resulting impacts on wellbeing. How people value, use and benefit from ecosystem services in urban vs rural contexts is still poorly understood. To address this research gap, my project aim is to compare how people relate to ecosystem services between urban and rural communities. Specifically, I will compare three pairs of urban and rural coastal communities in the Solomon Islands, a small island developing state facing sustainability challenges. I will assess people’s perceptions and preferences for ecosystem services. I will also explore how ecosystem services benefit human wellbeing. Further, I will compare these ecosystem service preferences and wellbeing benefits among different people. I will then look at the mechanisms limiting or enhancing the access to different ecosystem services. Complementarily, I will analyse spatially how services associate with each other and with different ecosystem types. My results will contribute to a more sustainable and equitable environmental management in a context of urbanization in vulnerable small islands.
Biography. Marie Lapointe is a PhD student at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. She completed a BSc at McGill University in Biology and Environmental Studies (2004) followed by a MSc in Plant Ecology at Université de Montréal (2009). Back in Canada, she worked in conservation through land acquisition and management of natural areas for a not-for-profit-organization. She was also involved in environmental awareness raising for different small NGOs, principally as a general manager. She had the chance to work in Panama, Cuba and Italy in urban and peri-urban forestry. With her ecological background and her professional experience working with communities, it made sense to her to focus her research on social-ecological systems through the lense of ecosystem services. She is advised by Graeme Cumming and Georgina Gurney.