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    Author(s): Stanley T. Asah; Anne D. Guerry; Dale J. Blahna; Joshua J. Lawler
    Date: 2014
    Source: Ecosystem Services. 10: 180-186.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (274.51 KB)


    Ecosystem services, fundamental to livelihoods and well-being, are reshaping environmental management and policy. However, the behavioral dimensions of ecosystem services and the responses of ordinary people to the management of those services, is less well understood. The ecosystem services framework lends itself to understanding the relationship between ecosystems and human behavior. Ecosystem services, according to the psychological theory of motivational functionalism, are motivations—the personal and social processes that initiate, direct and sustain human action. Thus, how people perceive, acquire and use ecosystem services influences the initiation, direction, and intensity of their behaviors. Profound understanding of how people perceive, acquire and use ecosystem services can help influence behavioral compliance with management and policy prescriptions. We use focus group interviewing to illustrate how ecosystem services relate to human behavior. Results show that people perceive, acquire and use indirect benefits while acquiring direct ecosystem services. Understanding indirect benefits has implications for the constitution and regulation of human behavior through ecosystem management and policy. Perceived ecosystem benefits, expressed in people×s own words and from their own frames of reference, can facilitate better valuation of ecosystem services and setting of prices, compliance with ecosystem management and policy directives, recruitment and retention of ecosystem stewards, development of use policies, enhancement of user experiences, and encouragement of pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Asah, Stanley T.; Guerry, Anne D.; Blahna, Dale J.; Lawler, Joshua J. 2014. Perception, acquisition and use of ecosystem services: human behavior, and ecosystem management and policy implications. Ecosystem Services. 10: 180-186.


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    ecosystem services, tribal rights, natural resource management policy, provisioning services, Deschutes National Forest

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