EGU24-19931, updated on 11 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Sustainable Scale for Geosystem Services Use: Addressing the missing link in subsurface management

Adithya Eswaran1, Tine Compernolle1,2, and Kris Piessens2
Adithya Eswaran et al.
  • 1Faculty of Business and Economics,, University of Antwerp, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium (
  • 2Geological Survey of Belgium, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences,1000 Brussels, Belgium

Geosystem services as a concept allow for understanding the benefits that are gained from abiotic processes and structures that contribute to human welfare. These services are obtained from the diversity of the geosystem (of which the subsurface is a part) are often overlooked and undervalued. Intense anthropogenic utilization of these finite services, emphasizes the need for pre-emptive management of the subsurface. While the concept of geosystem services allows for capturing the plurality of the subsurface (in terms of different functions and services), it is often under-emphasized in subsurface management. The objective of this paper is to systematically review the existing approaches for the management of geosystem services in literature and contextualize the principle of sustainable scale in terms of a conceptual scheme for the subsurface. The systematic review's findings reveal a lack of comprehensive discussions on the management of geosystem services. Instead, the current discourse revolves around identifying various components that require management and emphasizing the necessity for active management. Although the articles propose recommendations for the management of geosystem services, they lack a set of operationalized principles that can be used by policymakers. To establish a conceptual scheme for the sustainable management of the services obtained from the services, the principle of sustainable scale as found in the literature of Ecological Economics was contextualized. The proposed conceptual scheme resulted in the following key aspects: (a) connects the subsurface characteristics (e.g. replenishment rates, different functions) and the nature of benefits (economic, environmental, and social) (b) provides the conceptual basis for defining the scale of subsurface utilization based on the type of service and its regeneration rate.

How to cite: Eswaran, A., Compernolle, T., and Piessens, K.: Sustainable Scale for Geosystem Services Use: Addressing the missing link in subsurface management, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-19931,, 2024.

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