River restoration is essential to guarantee access to ecosystem services provided by free-flowing rivers. One mechanism to restore rivers is the decommissioning of run-of-the-river dams, but restoration can create opposition as anthropised landscapes form part of the environmental history and imaginary. To facilitate decision-making, actors' perceptions on ecosystem services for and against dam removal should be considered. We analyse perceptions on ecosystem services at two levels of study in Catalonia (Spain): the Catalan context and two local cases of dam removal in the Ter River Basin. Local case studies illustrate that combining participatory mapping and interviews makes contrasting values conspicuous and contributes to conflict understanding. Additionally, we acknowledge a dichotomy of perceptions between locals and outsiders, and the relevance of cultural values, environmental aesthetics, and history for actors' positioning. We propose the engagement of local stakeholders at the basin level through participatory approaches for the sake of understanding water conflicts, as decision making will rarely achieve social sustainability without local support.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2017|
- Cultural values
- Mediterranean River basins
- Participatory mapping
- Water conflicts