Can cultural ecosystem services contribute to satisfying basic human needs?

There is gradual recognition that the non-material benefits people obtain from nature (cultural ecosystem services) are critical for human well-being. Whilst multiple studies have assumed links between these benefits and human well-being, this relationship has not been quantified.

Noragric teamed up with the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) to study how public interest in management issues and attachment to place influences appreciation of cultural ecosystem services benefits, and if these benefits can act as satisfiers of well-being. The team surveyed a representative sample of the population in the Lofoten archipelago in northern Norway, a region faced with great policy challenges around resource-harvesting options.

Findings suggest that cultural ecosystem services significantly contribute to quality of life in this region, helping to satisfy needs for affection, understanding, creation, subsistence, identity, freedom, participation, protection and leisure.

The importance of ecosystem services benefits for well-being increases with increasing attachment to the Lofoten environment. 

Highlights of the study:

  • Cultural ecosystem services can be linked to human wellbeing and human needs.
  • Ecosystem services play a role in satisfying basic human needs.
  • Place attachment positively influences valuation of how ecosystem services contribute to quality of life.
  • Assessments of cultural ecosystem services should be a key component of planning and policy processes.

Read the article in Applied Geography:
Can cultural ecosystem services contribute to satisfying basic human needs? A case study from the Lofoten archipelago, northern Norway
By Bjørn P. Kaltenborn, John D.C. Linnell & Erik Gómez-Baggethun

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Published 6. August 2020 - 13:48 - Updated 26. March 2021 - 10:59