A pathway to identifying and valuing cultural ecosystem services: An application to marine food webs
Beyond recreation, little attention has been paid thus far to economically value Cultural Ecosystem Services (CESs), especially in the context of coastal or marine environment. This paper develops and tests a pathway to the identification and economic valuation of CESs. The pathway enables researchers to make more explicit, and to economically value, cultural dimensions of environmental change. We suggest that the valuation process includes a simultaneous development of the scenarios of environmental change including related biophysical impacts, and a documentation of culture–environment linkages. A well-defined ecosystem service typology is also needed to classify cultural–ecological linkages as specific CESs. The pathway then involves the development of detailed, multidimensional depictions of the culture–environment linkages for use in a stated preference survey. The anticipated CES interpretations should be confirmed through debriefing questions in the survey questionnaire. The proposed approach is demonstrated with a choice experiment-based case study in Turkey that focuses improvements to the food web of the Black Sea. The results of this study indicate that economic preferences for CESs other than recreation can be estimated in a way that is economically consistent using the proposed approach.