Perceived contributions of multifunctional landscapes to human well‐being: Evidence from 13 European sites

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  • Nora Fagerholm
  • Berta Martín-López
  • Mario Torralba
  • Elisa Oteros-Rozas
  • Alex Mark Lechner
  • Claudia Bieling
  • Olafsson, Anton Stahl
  • Christian Albert
  • Christopher M. Raymond
  • Maria Garcia Martin
  • Gulsrud, Natalie Marie
  • Tobias Plieninger
Multifunctional landscapes provide critical benefits and are essential for human well‐being. The relationship between multifunctional landscapes and well‐being has mostly been studied using ecosystem services as a linkage. However, there is a challenge of concretizing what human well‐being exactly is and how it can be measured, particularly in relation to ecosystem services, landscape values and related discussions.
In this paper, we measure self‐reported well‐being through applying an inductive free‐listing approach to the exploration of the relationships between landscape multifunctionality and human well‐being across 13 rural and peri‐urban sites in Europe.
We developed a face‐to‐face online survey (n = 2,301 respondents) integrating subjective perceptions of well‐being (free‐listing method) with mapping perceived ecosystem service benefits (Public Participation GIS, PPGIS approach).
Applying content analysis and diverse statistical methods, we explore the links between well‐being (i.e. perceived well‐being items such as tranquillity, social relations and health) and social‐ecological properties (i.e. respondents' sociocultural characteristics and perception of ecosystem service benefits).
We identify 40 different well‐being items highlighting prominently landscape values. The items form five distinct clusters: access to services; tranquillity and social capital; health and nature; cultural landscapes; and place attachment. Each cluster is related to specific study sites and explained by certain social‐ecological properties.
Results of our inductive approach further specify pre‐defined conceptualizations on well‐being and their connections to the natural environment. Results suggest that the well‐being contributions of multifunctional landscapes are connected to therapeutic well‐being effects, which are largely neglected in the ecosystem services literature.
Our results further point to the context‐specific character of linkages between landscapes and human well‐being. The clusters highlight that landscape‐supported well‐being is related to multiple interlinked items that can inform collective visions of well‐being in the future.
For landscape planning and management, we highlight the need for place‐specific analysis and consideration of perceptions of local people to identify the contributions to their well‐being.
Future research would benefit from considering the experiential qualities of value and well‐being as they relate to direct experiences with the landscape and wider psychological needs, specifically over time.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPeople and Nature
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)217-234
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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