A systematic review of social participation in ecosystem services studies in Latin America from a transdisciplinary perspective, 1996-2020

Sci Total Environ. 2022 Jul 1:828:154523. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.154523. Epub 2022 Mar 12.


In this article, we propose that ecosystem services (ES) should be studied integrating social participation and the narrative of social actors. We analyzed the ES literature (1996-2020) in Latin America (LA), basing our review on the concept that the study of this topic should be transdisciplinary and post-normal (i.e., extended peer communities). We prepared the review using the Scopus® and Web of Science™ (WoS) databases. We found 1069 articles related to social participation in ES studies in 20 LA countries, identifying 310 articles for further analysis using screening and eligibility protocols. We also used a random sample (n = 50) of the 310 articles for a detailed analysis of social participation and extended peer communities. Results showed that articles increased from seven in 2010 to 39 per year from 2015 to 2019. English is the primary language used (91% of the articles), with only one journal accepting publications in Spanish. The most common collaboration combination has been one LA author and one or more non-LA authors (41% of the articles). The semantic network analysis showed 35 thematic clusters, with the most common corresponding to ES protection and provision issues. Direct social participation was included in 62% of the articles, mainly through interviews; however, consultancy processes have dominated the participatory perspective of the authors without transformative involvement. We discuss article language and low inter-countries collaboration, both influencing the lack of social participation required for the transdisciplinary analysis of ES.

Keywords: Ecosystem services; Latin America; Social participation; Systematic literature review; Transdisciplinary.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Bibliometrics
  • Ecosystem*
  • Latin America
  • Social Participation*