Though agricultural landscape biodiversity and ecosystem service (ES) conservation is crucial to sustainability, agricultural land is often underrepresented in ES studies, while cultural ES associated with agricultural land is often limited to aesthetic and tourism recreation value only. This study mapped 7 nonmaterial-intangible cultural ES (NICE) valuations of 34 rural farmers in western Taiwan using the Social Values for Ecosystem Services (SolVES) methodology, to show the effect of farming practices on NICE valuations. However, rather than a direct causal relationship between the environmental characteristics that underpin ES, and respondents’ ES valuations, we found that environmental data is not explanatory enough for causality within a socio-ecological production landscape where one type of land cover type (a micro mosaic of agricultural land cover) predominates. To compensate, we used a place-based approach with Google Maps data to create context-specific data to inform our assessment of NICE valuations. Based on 338 mapped points of 7 NICE valuations distributed among 6 areas within the landscape, we compared 2 groups of farmers and found that farmers’ valuations about their landscape were better understood when accounting for both the landscape’s cultural places and environmental characteristics, rather than environmental characteristics alone. Further, farmers’ experience and knowledge influenced their NICE valuations such that farm areas were found to be sources of multiple NICE benefits demonstrating that farming practices may influence ES valuation in general.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited