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Cultural Ecosystem Services

Cultural ecosystem services describe the non-material and non-consumptive benefits people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation and aesthetic experience, including, e.g. knowledge systems, social relations, and aesthetic values (Haines-Young & Potschin 2013; UK National Ecosystem Assessment 2011) 1) 2). Cultural ecosystem services are primarily regarded as the physical settings, locations or situations that give rise to changes in the physical or mental states of people, and whose character are fundamentally dependent on living processes. They can involve individual species, habitats and whole ecosystems. Within the CICES v5.1 system, a distinction between settings that support interactions used in physical activities such as hiking and fishing and intellectual or mental interactions involving scientific, educational and heritage related activities is made. Spiritual and religious settings are also recognised. The classification therefore also covers the ‘existence’ and ‘bequest’ constructs that may arise from people’s beliefs or understandings.

Haines-Young, R. & Potschin, M. (2013): Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES). Consultation on Version 4, August-December 2012. Report to the European Environment Agency (EEA/IEA/09/003), checked on 3/18/2016.
UK National Ecosystem Assessment (Ed.) (2011): Technical Report (Glossary).
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