The psychological dimension of water ecosystem services

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18.1 INTRODUCTION Discussions of ecosystem services and ecosystem services-based approaches have so far focused on their ecological, social, and economic aspects (Fisher et al. 2011). These are aspects of our common guiding core elements 2 and 3 as presented in Chapter 2 of this book. Core element 4 has also been dominated by economic and monetary quantification of benefits, including the environmental and socio-economic paybacks that result from the protection of water sources (Syme et al. 2008). The focus on these three aspects neglects to include psychological factors involved in water ecosystem services and their enjoyment by people. Also neglected is the study of the relationship between water ecosystem services and water conservation (i.e. individuals’ actions aimed at avoiding water waste and contamination). Understanding the psychological components of the benefits of water ecosystem services is important because: (1) individuals value aspects of the environment that provide them with positive psychological consequences (i.e., satisfaction of needs, pleasure, wellbeing, etc.); and (2) if water ecosystem services are clearly perceived, people tend to conserve water in order to guarantee the continued provision of those services. These two components are psychological because they include mental (perceptions, values, emotions, psychological) benefits as well as behavioural (water conservation) aspects. Although a number of psychologically positive consequences of the relationship between humans and water have been studied, ecosystem services-based approaches rarely incorporate the understanding of those consequences within their explanatory models and empirical studies. Therefore, little is known about people’s perceived psychological benefits when (directly or indirectly) they come into contact with a water ecosystem. These psychologically positive consequences are fundamental to the appreciation of both water ecosystem services and water conservation efforts because pro-environmental behaviours are more likely to be maintained if those behaviours produce desirable outcomes in the form of positive mental states and psychological experiences (De Young 2000). Psychologically positive consequences also stimulate people’s appreciation of water ecosystem services since some of these services include the experience of psychological restoration, happiness, and psychological wellbeing (which are aspects of core element 1 as defined in Chapter 2).

Idioma originalInglés
Título de la publicación alojadaWater Ecosystem Services
Subtítulo de la publicación alojadaA Global Perspective
EditorialCambridge University Press
Número de páginas7
ISBN (versión digital)9781316178904
ISBN (versión impresa)9781107100374
EstadoPublicada - 1 ene. 2015

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