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Spatial quantification and valuation of cultural ecosystem services in an agricultural landscape,

Ecological Indicators, Volume 37, Part A, Pages 163-174,


While the spatial and economic quantification and valuation of ecosystem services is becoming increasingly recognised as a way to communicate the importance of ecosystem conservation, little attention has been given to cultural services of the landscape. Cultural services form an important part of tourism amenities in agricultural landscapes. In this study we present a methodology for quantifying cultural services. To gain understanding of the services valued by cultural service users, a survey was conducted with tourists in the municipality of Winterswijk. The survey collected data on landscape preferences for individual landscape features, and the structure and composition of the landscape as a whole. This was linked to respondent appreciation of the landscape functions of recreation, aesthetic beauty, cultural heritage, spirituality and inspiration. To give a monetary estimate of the value of these services a willingness to pay (WTP) exercise was conducted using photo manipulations depicting likely landscape changes. Increased residential infill, the removal of landscape elements for improved agricultural production and rewilding due to agricultural abandonment were simulated. Complementary to this estimate, a travel cost estimate of the value of landscape service was done based on respondents’ travel time to reach the region. The monetary value of the cultural services is placed between €86 (WTP) and €23 (travel cost) per tourist/year. The achieved understanding of the spatial heterogeneity of service provision in the region, as well as, the monetary valuation of the assets delivered by the landscape can help in prioritizing areas, and landscape features and structure for maintenance/restoration, while demonstrating the importance of conserving cultural service delivery.

Author(s): Derek B. van Berkel, Peter H. Verburg,

Journal: Ecological Indicators, Volume 37, Part A, Pages 163-174,

Year: 2014


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