Stakeholders’ perceptions on ecosystem services in Östergötland’s (Sweden) threatened oak wood-pasture landscapes

Authors: Pablo Garrido, Marine Elbakidze and Per Angelstam.

Type of publication: Article peer review

Ecosystem services (ES) research is currently widely utilized. However, qualitative approaches and socio-cultural valuations of ES are still limited. This may undermine future landscape conservation initiatives because important services for people may not be captured. We performed 29 face-to-face semi-structured interviews to capture stakeholders' perceptions of ES from the largest area with oak wood-pasture landscapes in Sweden (Östergötland County). A total of 34 ES were mentioned, and compared among stakeholders from public, private and civil sectors at local and regional levels of governance. Cultural ES were highlighted the most by respondents from both levels of governance. At the local level, respondents appreciated especially provisioning services. In contrast, regional level respondents showed more appreciation for supporting services. Private sector stakeholders emphasized provisioning ES, whereas the civil and public sector stakeholders highlighted cultural ES in terms of recreational values and landscape beauty. Supporting ES were considered only in relation to biodiversity, especially species and habitats linked to old oaks. Farmers and farming activities (especially grazing regimes) are crucial to support important oak wood-pasture ES. We discuss important ES as expressed by stakeholders and challenges for wood-pasture conservation in Sweden and elsewhere. To integrate the different demands of stakeholder groups into policy, enable cross-sectorial flexibility and policy regional adaptation for wood-pasture conservation, are current challenges future research should focus upon.

Garrido, P., Elbakidze, M. and Angelstam, P. 2017. Stakeholders’ perceptions on ecosystem services in Östergötland’s (Sweden) threatened oak wood-pasture landscapes. Landscape and Urban Planning, 158: 96-104.
DOI 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2016.08.018