A river of emotion: Exploring the combination of sense of place theory and the ecosystem service concept


Nile, Yangtze or Rhine – rivers have always had a significant role in human history. River landscapes are complex social-ecological systems, serving as hotspots for biodiversity and certain cultural ecosystem services (CES). Nowadays, river landscapes face changes both impacting biodiversity as well as human lives. People perceive these changes differently – but there are hardly any assessments dealing with people’s emotional connections to river landscapes. Gottwald et al. (2022) propose a combination of senses of place theory and ecosystem services concept to combat this research gap. Senses of place (SOP) are the meanings and attachments people ascribe to places. Place attachments reflect the emotional connections to a place which can be evaluated based on the intensity (low to strong) or dimension (place identity and dependence). Place meanings provide the reasons for these connections. A spatial assessment of SOP has proven difficult, but a relational value approach as applied with CES…

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