Unravelling diverse values of ecosystem services: A socio-cultural valuation using Q Methodology in Messenia, Greece

People perceive the importance of benefits from ecosystem services in different ways, depending on their values, beliefs, and needs. Acknowledging and integrating this diversity into decision-making processes can support informed natural resource management. Our empirical study unpicks the multiple ways stakeholder groups perceive the benefits derived from wetland ecosystem services (WES) in the area surrounding the “Gialova” coastal wetland in Messenia, Greece. The inhabitants from this region benefit from a range of WES, and most livelihoods are closely linked to agriculture and tourism. We aim to understand the patterns in commonly held stakeholder views on WES using “Q methodology”, a participatory mixed-methods approach. We identified five distinct perspectives on WES from a sample of 32 stakeholders. Alongside diverse perceptions of the relative importance of different WES, we observed a range of explanations of why certain WES are important and analyzed these through the lens of “value pluralism”. This identified tension between relational and instrumental values. Such analyses move beyond ecosystem service identification towards an understanding of value justifications and conflicts, and can support the deliberation of conflicted views, and policy design in alignment with people’s values.

Keywords: non-monetary valuation, wetland ecosystem services, perceptions; values, Q methodology

Citation: Maniatakou, S., H. Berg, G. Maneas, and T.M. Daw 2020 Sustainability 12(24):10320

Unravelling diverse values of ecosystem services: A socio-cultural valuation using Q Methodology in Messenia, Greece

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