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Knowledge and recognition of ecosystem services among the general public in a drainage basin in Scania, Southern Sweden

  • Lillemor Lewan
  • Tore Söderqvist
Publiceringsår: 2002
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 459-467
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Ecological Economics
Volym: 42
Nummer: 3
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Elsevier


Human preferences are likely to depend on such things as knowledge and information, propaganda and advertising, and formal (laws) and informal (norms) institutions. We focus on knowledge about how nature works and how this may be manifested in recognition of ecosystem services among the general public. Participants and non-participants in a plant nutrient abatement programme with detention ponds in a river drainage area in Scania, Southern Sweden, were asked to rank some selected ecosystem services, classified as visible services, invisible services and services involving human activities in nature. Three studied groups of local actors were originally not familiar with the concept of ecosystem services, but the concept was easily grasped. The results of the study include the following findings: (1) The groups of local actors were consistent in ranking the groups of visible and invisible services higher than the group of services involving human activities, but there were considerable differences in their ranking of individual services. (2) The generally high priority given to invisible services can partly, but not fully, be explained by the existence of the abatement programme. (3) There was uncertainty regarding relationships among and the relative importance of different ecosystem services. (4) Some informants had multiple preferences. In fact the role people chose to play may have larger impact on preferences than the level of information. (5) Several interviewees objected to the idea of ranking services, and preferred to view nature as a whole. The results are discussed from a knowledge perspective, and we conclude that a widespread recognition of ecosystem services in policy and economics cannot be expected until the general public has gained some critical level of basic knowledge about functions in nature.


  • Biological Sciences
  • ranking
  • preferences
  • knowledge
  • ecosystem services
  • plant nutrient


  • ISSN: 0921-8009

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