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Auctions in payments for ecosystem services and the plural values of nature

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Payment for ecosystem service (PES) contracts encounters several challenges, encompassing information asymmetry in determining appropriate pricing, communication gaps involving multiple motivations and the evolving societal norms surrounding sustainability for voluntary contracts. Auctions serve as mechanisms for competitively awarding such contracts. However, their application and analysis have predominantly focused on their economic efficiency in overcoming information asymmetries and providing transparency in contract allocation. This instrumental perspective often overlooks the relational and intrinsic values that underlie PES contracts. By recognising PES auctions as multilayered processes of integrated valuation for nature, PES auctions can contribute to allocating resources efficiently, establishing new social relationships and restructuring existing ones while also providing opportunities for innovations.

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