Harnessing Nature’s Benefits: Problems and Prospects for Recognising the Wider Value of Regional Tourist Economies Cheryl Willis – PhD Candidate Centre for Sport, Leisure and Tourism Research ESRC CASE studentship held jointly by Geography, College of Life and Environmental Science and Politics, College of Social Sciences and International Studies Supported by Dorset County Council Introduction • Context and Background • Purpose and Scope of Research • Environmental Valuation •Techniques, limitations and alternatives • Conceptual Frameworks •Ecosystem Services •Wellbeing • Policy Relevance of a wellbeing approach • Aims and Objectives • Proposed Methodology • Conclusion Context and Background ‘A rational process for assessment of environmental policy options should be based on an appreciation of how humans value nature’ (Lockwood, 1999 p381) Purpose and Scope of Research To explore how an understanding of these intangible values of nature and their contribution to subjective wellbeing can broaden and deepen our understanding of how people value the natural environment in an important tourist area. Environmental Valuation An Overview • Value concepts • Two approaches dominate the literature: •Neo-classical economic approach •Philosophical /perceptual approach Monetary Techniques for valuing the environment • Stated Preference methods • Revealed preference methods Limitations of Monetary Approaches ‘The environment is a site of conflict between competing values and interests and the institutions and communities that articulate those values and interests. These cannot be reduced to a single measure, whether monetary or otherwise’ (O’Neill, 2007 p26) Perceptual Approaches to Valuing the Environment ‘What is it that renders one person’s muddy little cove another person’s inestimably valued and prized childhood vacation spot?’ (Craik, 1986 p55) Conceptual Frameworks Ecosystem Services • Millennium Ecosystem Assessment identified 4 broad types of ecosystem services. • Cultural Services: ‘‘The non-material benefits people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation and aesthetic experience’ (MA, NEA) Conceptual Framework Wellbeing •Classified into two broad categories: Objective - observable measures Subjective – hedonism eudaimonism (Ryan & Deci, 2001) A Wellbeing Perspective to Environmental Valuation Multi-faceted concept which is difficult to define and measure Provides an innovative way to conceptualise the ways in which the natural environment has worth for people Policy Relevance of Subjective Wellbeing •Provides a useful and innovative approach to policy appraisal • Establishes the person as the central policy focus • Understanding human needs will help to most efficiently provide opportunities to fulfil those needs Gaining momentum in Policy Arenas • ‘The issue of wellbeing lies at the heart of sustainable development and it remains important to develop appropriate wellbeing indicators’ (Securing the Future: the UK Government Sustainable Development Strategy, 2005 p23) • ‘The time is ripe for our measurement system to shift emphasis from measuring economic production to measuring people’s wellbeing’ (Report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, 2009 p12) Gaining momentum in Policy Arenas ‘Our natural environment underpins our economic prosperity, our health and our wellbeing. Our land, seas, rivers, woods and fields, parks and open spaces provide us with benefits so fundamental that they are often overlooked. These natural assets have an enormous collective value. The more we understand about the natural world, the more we realise that it supports us in ways which may not always be visible but which have a very real value’ (Defra July 2010, discussion document to feed into the White Paper on the Natural Environment due Spring 2011) Wellbeing – An Innovative Approach to Policy Assessment Policy Change Impacts in ecosystem services Impacts on human wellbeing Value of changes in ecosystem services in wellbeing terms Measuring Subjective Wellbeing • Measures of Physical benefit • Measures of psychological benefit • Human Needs Approach The Needs and Satisfiers Matrix Human Needs Ways in which perceptions and experiences of nature contributes to the satisfaction of needs Being Subsistence Protection Affection Understanding Participation Leisure Creation Identity Freedom (Max-Neef, 1992) Having Doing Interacting Framework for Assessing the Contribution of the Natural Environment to Subjective Wellbeing Landscape Cultural Services Human Needs • Physical setting • Activities • Experiences • Cognitive development • Aesthetic experiences • Spiritual enrichment • Reflection • Recreation • Subsistence • Protection • Affection • Understanding • Participation • Leisure • Creation • Identity • Freedom Subjective Wellbeing Research Aims The research will explore the ways in which people experience and value the natural environment in an important tourist area and how interactions with it contribute to their perceived wellbeing. It will seek to address how this information can effectively be incorporated into policy decisions about tourism and natural resource management in Dorset’s coastal areas. Objectives 1. To characterise the relationship between Dorset’s coastal areas and the perceived wellbeing benefits of visitors to these areas 2. To assess the extent to which subjective wellbeing can be used as an effective decision-support tool to assess the impact of different policy options and changes in the environment 3. To assess how an understanding of cultural ecosystem services and subjective wellbeing contributes to the wider debates on environmental valuation and to an appreciation of tourists’ motivations for visiting Dorset’s coastal areas Case Study Areas Methodology Objective 1: •150 on-site surveys at each case study location This will largely be based around an adaptation of the Human-Scale Development Matrix to ascertain what human needs are satisfied by recreating in coastal areas • 10 in-depth interviews at each case study site Methodology Objective 2: •1 focus group at each case study site This will use the adapted Human-Scale Development Matrix as a participatory tool to assess social values and to determine how wellbeing might be affected by changes in the environment Methodology Objective 3: To assess how an understanding of cultural ecosystem services and subjective wellbeing contributes to the wider debates on environmental valuation and to an appreciation of tourists’ motivations for visiting Dorset’s coastal areas. • Analysis of surveys and interviews to explore how intangible benefits of nature contribute to tourists’ motivations for visiting the area or similar areas. •Data collection from Dorset to assess how ideas of wellbeing can enrich economic data already collected in Dorset •Synthesis of ideas and reflections Concluding Remarks ‘Natural resources are not only raw materials to be inventoried and moulded into a recreation opportunity, but also, and more important, places with histories, places that people care about, places that for many people embody a sense of belonging and purpose that give meaning to life’ (Williams et al, 1992, p44). 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