Landscape experiences as a cultural ecosystem service in a Nordic context

Concepts, values and decision-making

image of Landscape experiences as a cultural ecosystem service in a Nordic context

Cultural ecosystem services in the form of experiences derived from landscapes are potentially important, but often overlooked. Given the large and unprecedented landscape changes many of the Nordic countries are undergoing, there is a need to find ways of including people’s preferences and the value of landscape impacts in policy assessments and decision-making processes. The project aim has been to synthesize knowledge about the magnitude and value of landscape experiences, and investigate current practices and examples of how landscape impacts are incorporated (or not) in policy assessments and decision-making contexts in the Nordics. The literature demonstrates potentially high unaccounted welfare loss from landscape change. We find clear weaknesses in current practices, that a second phase will try to address. The project was carried out by Vista Analysis in Oslo and Department of Environmental Science at Aarhus University from 2014–15.



Comprehensive summary and conclusions

Cultural ecosystem services (ES), one of the four ES categories coined by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005), is consistently recognized as highly important, but is often not considered further in scientific ES research or thoroughly in policy assessments. The varied experiences people derive from landscapes constitutes a substantial part of these cultural services. The scientific literature about the value (in monetary or non-monetary terms) of people’s landscape experiences is still generally found lacking in the Nordic countries. However, there are specific studies, e.g. in the area of forest recreation and multiple use management, where several Nordic countries have a fairly good knowledge base. Recently, new studies, for example of wind power externalities, have emerged and the interest in the topic is increasing. Internationally, there is more knowledge of landscape values from the academic literature.


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