Qualitative Valuation of Ecosystem Services in SEA in Sweden

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för geovetenskaper

Author: Alies Van Rhijn Van Rhijn; [2014]

Keywords: ;

Abstract:

This thesis is about evaluating the impacts of a detailed development plan on ecosystem services instrategic environmental assessment using qualitative methods. A qualitative approach is combined witheconomic concepts and the use of this method is explored through a case study in which the impact on ecosystemservices is integrated into a strategic environmental assessment. The case study used in this thesis concerns theP18 area in Visborg, south of Visby, Gotland, which has been earmarked in a detailed development plan tobecome a sports and recreation area. The plan allows for the building of a sports hall, rerouting of the runningtracks and the discontinuation of the motocross circuit. The study evaluates the impact of the implementation ofthe plan on ecosystem services and how this affects their stakeholders.In this study the impacts on the ecosystem services are identified through a desktop study of the strategicenvironmental assessment and complementing documents. Semi-structured interviews were held with thestakeholders of the ecosystem services in the area about the benefits they receive and their perception of these.The results from the interviews are subsequently categorized using template analysis into the sub-values of totaleconomic value: use value, indirect use value, option value, altruist value, bequest value and existence value.The results showed that the ecosystem services are connected through their biophysical structures as well as theirstakeholders. This showed it is important to keep a holistic view when doing an assessment on the impact onecosystem services as they are all connected and embedded in society. Furthermore, it showed that it wasdifficult for the stakeholders to relate to some of the values that comprise the total economic value. Thequalitative methods also allowed for nuance and context in the description of values, contrary to the well-knowneconomic assessments.The suggestions based on this case study are to continue research into alternative methods of assessingecosystem services in strategic environmental assessment. It is further recommended that this research looks intousing interdisciplinary methods to ensure that the method is all encompassing.

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