Wetland areas' direct contributions to residents' well-being entitle them to high cultural ecosystem values

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Wetlands in urban areas will be crucial to counteract the effects of climate change, for example, by improving flood protection and regulating local climate. To gain acceptance for larger-scale creation of wetlands, total values must be identified and revealed. Provisioning and regulating ecosystem services can be described as the quantitative effect, but cultural ecosystem services require other assessments. This study sought to determine whether peri-urban and urban wetland areas contribute to the well-being and quality of life of nearby residents, and to capture their value relative to two other types of green areas (i.e., parks and urban forests). A postal questionnaire survey, based on validated environmental psychology instruments, was distributed to residents in three municipalities with wetland areas of different structures and locations. In these municipalities, respondents (n = 474; response rate = 40%) reported that the wetland area contributed to several quality-of-life aspects, such as encountering nature and experiencing beauty. The areas also facilitated activities that support well-being, were perceived to have high restorative qualities, and evoked positive affective responses. All wetland areas were rated high on most of the measured concepts, but their value relative to other green areas differed possibly depending on the accessibility of the wetland and the availability of other green areas. The location and extent to which the wetland area was integrated in the residential area determined what quality-of-life aspects were most satisfied. Wetland areas can be ascribed cultural ecosystem service values based on how residents perceive their contribution to their quality of life. These values can be added to those of provisioning and regulating ecosystem services, forming the basis for planning urban environments.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Halmstad University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Applied Psychology

Keywords

  • Created wetlands, Cultural ecosystem services, Urban planning, Environmental perception, Quality of life, Environmental psychology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1315-1326
Number of pages1326
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume646
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes