Using social media to assess cultural ecosystem services generated in protected areas in Patagonia
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- Institutt for geografi 
There is currently a willingness to explore the operationalization of cultural ecosystem services (CES) in order to inform the management and decisions about natural resources. This research aims to provide further insight into the assessment of the cultural benefits generated by ecosystems, i.e. the kind of uses and enjoyment they provide and their relative importance, by using social media data, specifically photo-series analysis. The appraisal of CES values refers to social preferences and perception towards protected areas in the Andean Patagonia mainland. This research uses a specially designed typology for classifying pictures, Openness Classify App and looks into the existent literature on frameworks for valuating intangible appreciation of ecosystems. The results revealed that people are more likely to feel attracted to visit these protected areas due to the aesthetic qualities of the landscapes, and they also appreciate individual species. The results showed also a variety of recreational activities conducted in these areas. In some cases, these activities require infrastructure, but in others, visitors use particular features of the landscape such as water bodies and cliffs. The national park with the most spectacular natural attraction is the one with largest number of pictures uploaded, but there seems to be less variability among the motives of these photos, and in the kind of activities conducted in the area, which to a large extend are related to tourism infrastructure. This framework can serve as a model for future research and it offers the possibility to visualize people’s preferences and perception in protected landscapes, especially in large and remote areas.