The cultural ecosystem services provided by a semi-natural suburban wetland
Bonokoski, Alex Isidor
Wetlands are recognized for the diverse range of ecosystem services they provide. However, most economic valuations focus on the biophysical ecosystem services and disregard the cultural ecosystem services. A better understanding of the cultural ecosystem services that suburban wetlands provide supplements wetland valuations and contributes to wetland preservation and sustainable suburban development. This study, which was conducted in Sherwood Park, Alberta, explores how suburban residents use, perceive, and value suburban wetlands and draws conclusions about the cultural ecosystem services provided by suburban wetlands. Suburban wetlands have implicit existence value; they are aesthetically pleasing; and they provide recreational, spiritual, and intellectual opportunities. Suburban wetlands are venues for relaxation, stress relief, and connecting with nature. Residents have strong positive feelings toward suburban wetlands, and a strong preference for incorporating natural wetland elements into suburban developments. Incorporating natural wetlands contributes to sustainable suburban development and produces economic, social, and ecological benefits.