5 years ago

Socio-geographic indicators to evaluate landscape Cultural Ecosystem Services: A case of Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Too often, taxonomies treat cultural aspects of Ecosystem Services (ES) as a broadly labeled, residual category after accounting for other utilitarian benefits. Such an approach overlooks several important inter-relationships among the largely different integrated components of cultural ES, i.e. recreational, spiritual, education concerns, etc. In this paper, the need of more explicit typologies is underscored via a case study, where the authors represented the discrepancies between two tiers of Cultural ES: those associated with Spiritual Values and Recreational Opportunities using a socio-georaphically-based tri-indicator analytical framework. More specifically, two survey-based (Richness and Quality of ES), and one GIS-based (Willingness to Travel (WTT)) indices were proposed to evaluate a full range of cultural benefits derived from seven popular tourism sites of Ha Tien Town, Kien Giang, Vietnam. These numerical indicators pointed out the significant differences between ritual values and recreational based benefits, underlining the crucial need of fuller taxonomies of cultural services within the ES analytical framework. With respect to the study area, the measurements of Quality and Richness detected major synergies and tradeoffs among the evaluated benefits, supporting the need to balance management between developing tourism activities and preserving cultural identity of the landscapes. The last indicator, WTT utilizes map data from OpenStreetMap to produce an objective metric in evaluating landscape quality, taking into account the frequency and the potential costs in traveling to respective sites. This indicator constitutes a reliable and equitable method to represent relevant Cultural ES of landscapes besides the popular yet controversial money-based indices, e.g. Willingness to Pay or Willingness to Accept.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S221204161730013X

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