Influence of human interventions on local perceptions of cultural ecosystem services provided by coastal landscapes : Case study of the Huiwen wetland, southern China

Dou, Yuehan; Liu, Mengxiao; Bakker, Martha; Yu, Xiubo; Carsjens, Gerrit J.; Groot, Rudolf De; Liu, Junguo


Maintaining and enhancing the beneficial contributions of landscapes to a good quality of life is a major challenge of our time. Coastal landscapes are rapidly changing due to human interventions such as urbanization, economic development, and even restoration policy. These changes affect both the physical environment and interactions between people and the landscapes in which they live. Cultural ecosystem services (CES), which result from these interactions, are often overlooked in landscape planning and decision-making. Furthermore, the influence of landscape interventions on the local residents’ perception of CES are unknown. To clarify these influences, we studied the relationships between people, CES, and resident perceptions of local landscape features in a Chinese coastal landscape. By combining questionnaires, GPS positioning, and spatial data (distances and areas of human interventions), we gained insights into local perceptions of CES and their relationships with specific landscape features. We found that villages played an important role in the perception of CES, both as a landscape feature and as a specific palette of demographic characteristics. Next to villages, cultivated land was the landform perceived as providing the most CES to local inhabitants, with coastal wetlands having a lower value. For human interventions in the local context, the distance to the interventions influenced the perception of CES more strongly than the area affected by the interventions. Our assessment revealed different perceptions of CES and the diverse roles of local landscape features for CES provision. This provides empirical support for multi-functional and sustainable landscape management.