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Comparison of methods for a landscape-scale assessment of the cultural ecosystem services associated with different habitats

Gosal, Arjan S., Newton, Adrian C., Gillingham, Phillipa K.
TheInternational journal of biodiversity science, ecosystem services & management 2018 v.14 no.1 pp. 91-104
aesthetic value, agricultural land, ecosystem services, geographic information systems, global positioning systems, habitats, heathlands, land management, landscapes, national parks, recreation, surveys, woodlands, United Kingdom
Cultural ecosystem services (CES) are widely acknowledged as important but are often neglected by ecosystem service assessments, leading to a representational bias. This reflects the methodological challenges associated with producing robust and repeatable CES valuations. Here we provide a comparative analysis of three approaches for non-monetary valuation of CES, namely a structured survey, participatory GIS (PGIS) and GPS tracking methods. These were used to assess both recreation and aesthetic value of habitats within the New Forest National Park, UK. The association of CES with habitats enabled results of all three methods to be visualised at the landscape scale using maps, strengthening their value to conservation management. Broadleaved woodland and heathland habitats were consistently valued highly for both CES, whereas agricultural land tended to be associated with low values. Results obtained by the different methods were positively correlated in 6 out of 10 comparisons, indicating a degree of consistency between them. The spatial distribution of CES values at the landscape scale was also generally consistent between the three methods. These results highlight the value of comparative analyses of CES for identifying robust results, providing a way forward for their inclusion in land management decision-making.EDITED BY Matthias Schröter