Mapping Indicators of Cultural Ecosystem Services: Review and Relevance to Urban Context

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Abstract

Over decades human well-being has recognized from ecosystems, not only through material goods but also through nonmaterial assets namely cultural ecosystem services (CES). Regardless of increasing Ecosystem Services (ES) research over the last decade, cultural services assessment still remains neglected and is mainly limited to marketable services such as recreation and ecotourism. Obvious challenges in standardizing definitions and measurement units have brought about numerous difficulties in accounting cultural services and specific related indicators in decision-making processes. In that regard, the current review intends to create a reference list of CES categories and related measurement units with commonly used indicators. To put it another way, we analysis 80 publications to identify the most common CES indicators using in mapping various categories of CES approaches. Results prove that there are various methods can be used in assessing CES categories, whereas we found 57 indicators can be used for that and most of these indicators can be utilized in urban planning context as spatial indicators. Moreover, it is obvious that almost the same indicators can be used in evaluating most CES categories. For instance, in case of recreation and tourism indicators almost 50 % of all collected indicators can be used for mapping it, on the contrary, in case of spiritual and religious values. In conclusion, while there are various mapping methods of CES and different indicators, most of CES categories have relatively ignored by the planner and decision-makers such as education and inspirational values. Therefore, we recommend the use of the collected indicators and relevant measurement units in assessing neglected values in future research.

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