Disentangling the complexity of socio-cultural values of temporary rivers

Dídac Jorda-Capdevila*, Irene Iniesta-Arandia, Cristina Quintas-Soriano, Aikaterini Basdeki, Eman J. Calleja, Anna Maria DeGirolamo, David Gilvear, Maria Ilhéu, Jūratė Kriaučiūniene, Ivana Logar, Luis Loures, Tomasz Padło

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In the last decade, an awareness towards temporary rivers has increased globally in response to drying climates and growing human demand for water. However, social perceptions of temporary rivers have rarely been incorporated in their science and management. In this study, we advance an understanding of the socio-cultural values of temporary rivers principally in a European context. We used an ecosystem services-based approach for a participatory and deliberative exercise with 16 researchers and managers. Our results point out to two important aspects of socio-cultural values in temporary rivers. First, cultural ecosystem services have high socio-cultural values and usually represent the interests of the less influential stakeholders in related conflicts. And second, the temporal and geographical variability of these types of rivers is key to understand their socio-cultural values. As an example, the low provision of freshwater in a long non-flowing phase is one of the reasons for its high value. The results above point to future research needs that deserve more attention like the study of tradeoffs and synergies of ecosystem services and interdisciplinary research and management. We finally acknowledge the need to conduct case study research to account for geographical variation and to include the multiple views of different stakeholder groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-247
Number of pages13
JournalEcosystems and People
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2021


  • Ecosystem services
  • ephemeral streams
  • Eszter Kelemen
  • intermittent rivers
  • non-monetary valuation
  • participatory approach
  • socio-cultural valuation
  • temporal variability
  • water management


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