Do ideas change policies? Some reflections on ecosystem services in environmental decision-making

Gianluca Ferraro*, Pierre Failler, Ewan Tregarot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Downloads (Pure)


Ecosystems play crucial functions in our economic and social well-being, known as Ecosystem Services (ESs). The uptake of ESs in national public policies and decision-making is advancing slowly, and the application of the concept still lags behind in many national and subnational systems within the European Union (EU) and beyond. Delays are particularly long in the EU’s Outermost Regions (ORs) and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) as well as in the Overseas Territories (OTs) of the United Kingdom. This article presents the research conducted in some of these ORs, OCTs and OTs—internationally acknowledged as biodiversity hotspots—and frames it in the context of the relationship between ideational innovation and institutional change. In particular, it investigates whether, to what extent and how ideas can cause changes in the status quo of laws, regulations and administrative practices that are designed to protect nature. The article also explores the major obstacles faced by ideas in the attempt of causing political, administrative and policy change, and disrupting existing patterns of decision-making. Finally, it recommends possible lines of actions to circumvent these cognitive, organisational and political constraints.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere220009
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Sustainability Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2022


  • ideas
  • institutional change
  • biodiversity policy
  • European Union
  • ecosystem services


Dive into the research topics of 'Do ideas change policies? Some reflections on ecosystem services in environmental decision-making'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this