Sociocultural valuation of ecosystem services to improve protected area management: a multi-method approach applied to Catalonia, Spain

Sara Maestre-Andrés, Laura Calvet-Mir, Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. The notion of ecosystem services is considered useful for integrating perceptions and values into decision-making on environment and nature. Sociocultural factors have been suggested to explain perceptions and values assigned to ecosystem services. We examine this by undertaking a sociocultural valuation of ecosystem services provided by the natural park of Sant Llorenç del Munt, located at the edge of the Barcelona Metropolitan Region. Four methods are used, namely a review of the literature on ecosystem services, non-participant observation, semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and a valuation survey among visitors. We assess whether visitors and other stakeholders understand the term ecosystem service, finding that the concept is rather unknown or misunderstood. Among the 28 ecosystem services identified, habitat and cultural services were the most valued. We statistically identify socioeconomic characteristics of visitors that have a main influence on their valuation of ecosystem services. We further assess diverging preferences of all stakeholders that might give rise to conflicting views about policies for protected areas. We draw lessons about the usefulness of the multi-method approach and about the management of protected areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-731
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016

Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Conflicting views
  • Human well-being
  • Policy support
  • Social perception

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