Unfolding scientific expertise and security in the changing governance of Ecosystem Services

Within the past few decades, the idea of global Ecosystem Services (ES) has moved center stage in environmental and sustainability debates. The academic and policy discourse behind Ecosystem Service protection appears to have changed from a more ecological focus on habitat restoration to a predominantly economic one revolving around human well-being. The aim of this paper is to unfold the coupling between scientific expertise and security in the changing governance of ES. We employ a 'securitization' lens to advance our understanding of the recent change in the governance of ecosystems, as we reflect on the role of scientific expertise at the boundary between science and security. Empirically, we analyze how scientific experts, as securitizing actors, frame the degradation and loss of ES as an existential threat to human security thereby justifying measures to reverse these trends. In order to trace how the voices of scientific experts shape policies to govern ES we apply bibliometric analysis and an opinion -based survey to first identify who produces the scientific knowledge published, and then follow how key scientific experts link to policy-making arenas and use security framings. Lastly, we discuss the implications of the shifting discourse surrounding ES, and we reflect on our own positionality and approach, as we string together our findings to contribute to the debate about environmental expertise and governance, and the authority of scientific knowledge.