A GIS approach to ecosystem services and rural territorial dynamics applied to the case of the gas industry in Bolivia

Hinojosa-Valencia, Leonith and Hennermann, Karl (2012). A GIS approach to ecosystem services and rural territorial dynamics applied to the case of the gas industry in Bolivia. Applied Geography, 34(2012) pp. 487–497.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2012.02.003

Abstract

This paper presents a method for assessing environmental change based on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment approach and literature on ecosystem services and rural livelihoods. The method combines quantitative and qualitative data, namely GIS and stakeholders’ perceptions, respectively. We demonstrate the method by assessing recent environmental changes in two gas-rich territories in southern Bolivia. We suggest that the method is useful to measure environmental change, particularly in situations characterized by limited data availability and strong stakeholder concerns regarding environmental change. For the Bolivian case, we conclude that the environmental impact of the gas industry and related public investments in the preceding 10 years has not been significant. However, the people’s perceptions overestimate any changes and explain the emergence of socio-environmental conflicts that undermine the sustainability of the gas industry.

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