Capturing cultural values though participatory mapping, a contribution to ecosystem valuation : the case of Oslo’s peri-urban forests, Norway
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Although ecosystem service valuations have become common within the policy and research communities as a support tool for land management decisions, cultural ecosystem services lack the same representation in ecosystem valuations due to the nature of cultural ecosystem services being perceived as “subjective”. This thesis explores both the conceptual and methodological challenges that have hindered the integration of cultural ecosystem services into ecosystem service valuations. Using the peri-urban forests of Norway’s capital, Oslo, this thesis utilized a mixed method research approach to develop an analytical framework that conceptualizes some of the more abstract socio-cultural values recognized by the Norwegian Environmental Agency. This thesis carried out a demonstration of the framework using a participatory mapping protocol, resulting in hot spot maps of the socio-cultural values incorporated within the framework. These hot spot maps show value plurality within the landscape and with their spatially explicit representation, this thesis shows some of the potential policy applications derived from these results. With validation from the participants used in the mapping protocol, this thesis shows that by conceptualizing socio-cultural values based on the dynamic relationship between people and landscape, not just valuing ecosystems based on the benefits they provide, it is possible to map the socio-cultural values that have been characterized as “subjective”. This research has given insight into the practicalities and possibilities for mapping socio-cultural values, contributing to the capabilities of ecosystem valuations, and addressing the knowledge gap of mapping socio-cultural value.