The importance of cultural ecosystem services and their evaluation in the context of ecosystem service assessment frameworks - Comparative study of users’ perceptions (preferences) of cultural ecosystem services and disservices in and outside the city of Leipzig
MetadataShow full item record
Human beings are strongly connected with their surrounded environment. The dependencies range from resource supply for human use, ecosystem service provision, to contributions to human wellbeing and welfare. Ecosystem services are under decline, which calls for maintenance and protection strategies, and concepts for sustainable use. Cultural ecosystem services are hard to quantify and measure due to their intangible and non-consumptive attributes. Once destroyed, these services are even harder to replace than other ecosystem services. In the background of environmental degradation and increasing global urbanisation, people are temped to attach greater importance to the natural setting and services provided by nature. Various approaches exist for the assessment of ecosystem services but an interdisciplinary, agreed-upon methodology to capture and evaluate these services adequately among ecological, economic and societal interests in a balanced way is still missing. The importance of ecosystem services and cultural services was investigated in urban (i.e. park) and suburban (i.e. allotment garden associations) areas of the city of Leipzig based on 66 short face-to-face interviews in summer of 2015. Demographic data was recorded to uncover respondents’ preferences for ecosystem services and cultural ecosystem services in particular. Data analysis was performed by descriptive analysis and correlations in SPSS. Differences in demography and service use among the areas were disclosed. Different preferences for ecosystem services were found between urban and suburban locations, between age groups and respondent’s educational level as well as between the current and general service use. Provisioning services, partly in combination with cultural services, were most likely mentioned by older respondents in suburban areas. Cultural services per se or in combination with regulation were more important in the urban park area. Preferences for cultural services were dependent on the time of the week (i.e. working day or weekend). Ecosystem disservices, i.e. disturbances by nature that people perceive as unwanted, were barely mentioned within the scope of the survey. Variations were found between the current service use and the use in general absent the present moment. Participatory approaches in ecosystem service assessment are indispensable in identifying spatial distributions and importance of specific (e.g. cultural) services. Local investigations on ecosystem services and user’s involvement provide an opportunity to capture besides ecosystems’ visible values also the intangible dimension. The incorporation of the cultural dimension in ecosystem service assessment frameworks can therefore be enabled. Measuring and assessing of natures’ services contributes due to value identification leading to sustainable resources use.