Exploring practical methods of socio-cultural valuation of ecosystem services to support planning policy
Authors: Craig Bullock, Deirdre Joyce, Marcus Collier
Abstract: The concept of ecosystem services provides a means to articulate our dependence on the natural environment. Evidence of the importance of regulating, provisioning and cultural services can be demonstrated through a valuation of the benefits they provide to human beings. Hitherto, much of this valuation has been performed through economic approaches. However, our interaction with the natural environment provides a far wider range of benefits than personal utility alone.
This paper will discuss the merits of alternative socio-cultural valuation using the example of a coastal environment in Ireland. Here, we are using deliberative approaches and mapping within a series of workshops. The objective is to explore the range of socio-cultural values and to combine these with economic methods such that public authorities have the confidence to incorporate these values within spatial planning decisions with regard to green infrastructure and mapping the limits to acceptable development.
Stakeholders’ views on ecosystem services use, social values and participation: Q-sort methodology applied in Wielkopolska Province, Poland.
Authors: Piotr Matczak, Krzysztof Maczka
Abstract: Conflicts related to the ecosystem services management, within Natura 2000 network in particular, are abundant. Establishment of Natura 2000 network in Poland involved significant controversies and the further implementation has been contested. In this paper the question is posed: to what extent the strained relations between the public administration and the environmental NGOs in the management of Natura 2000 sites in Poland can be attributed to the difference between the parties in terms of: the understanding of ecosystem services use (views on nature and the role of man); the difference in social values (world views); difference in attitudes towards participation (views on a fair decision making process).
The q-sort research tool comprised 60 statements, used in 30 interviews with the public administration and environmental NGOs representatives enabled to detect the views differences between the parties and to recommend possible ways to overcome this gap.
Social valuation of ecosystem services in an agricultural landscape: Empirical findings
Authors: Rolinde Demeyer, Francis Turkelboom
Abstract: The objective of our research was to identify and understand the desired benefits and uses of an agricultural landscape in Belgium for different stakeholder groups. This research was in response to a question of the Flemish Land Agency (VLM) who wants to find ways to raise local support for the implementation of new nature in an agricultural landscape. Ecosystem services (ES) was considered a useful way to frame the human needs of the landscape. To elucidate local needs, a social valuation was used, which included an open interview, an ES photo ranking exercise and a mapping of desired ES. This resulted in an identification of a group of desired ES which were mentioned spontaneously by respondents, and a ranking of desired ES which were triggered by the pictures. These results proved to be very useful for the managers of the land use planning project.
The potentials and limitations of deliberative methods in ecosystem service valuation
Authors: Eszter Kelemen, Heli Saarikoski
Abstract: Deliberative valuation invites stakeholders and citizens (the general public) to form their preferences for ecosystem services together through an open dialogue, which allows consideration of ethical beliefs, moral commitments and social norms beyond individual and collective utility. The aim of this paper is to review the promises of deliberative valuation with a critical eye. Based on a detailed literature review and our previous research experiences with deliberative valuation, we assess how the key assumptions of deliberative valuation are reflected in empirical studies and what challenges are faced. We suggest that different tools should be used at different steps of the deliberative valuation process (i.e. problem framing, knowledge co-generation, decision making), and that the used approach has to be flexibly adapted to the decision making context as well as to the broader socio-cultural environment.
The impact of group dynamics on the outcome of deliberative monetary valuation studies of ecosystem services
Authors: Marc Völker, Nele Lienhoop
Abstract: Deliberative monetary valuation (DMV) studies of ecosystem services promise to give respondents the opportunity to exchange opinions and knowledge before making value statements. However, under certain conditions, group dynamics may prevent small groups from effectively pooling the individual knowledge of their members. This article empirically addresses one specific aspect of group dynamics that may impact on the sharing of information among participants: the initial preference distribution in groups. Drawing on a DMV study of forest ecosystem services in West Saxony, Germany, it is shown that the initial preference distribution in groups influences both the diversity of arguments exchanged during group discussions and the content and construct validity of value statements. This suggests that future DMV studies should be conducted with groups with heterogeneous initial preferences as a failure to do so may lead to an ineffective sharing of information, ill-advised value statements and, hence, biased valuation outcomes.