Natural habitats, beautiful landscapes and diverse forests provide great potential for recreation and revitalization, tourism and quality of life for inhabitants. At the same time, these habitats supply a range of additional benefits for society, such as maintaining biodiversity, protecting against climate change and natural hazards as well as shaping the cultural identity of the local population.
How can the impacts of nature and landscape on society be measured and valued? How do economic activities affect nature and the environment? We address these questions with scientific methods and distinguish between several aspects:
- Economic valuation of ecosystem goods and services, provided to people by nature, forest and landscapes.
- Possibilities to realize the value of, as well as payments for these goods and services by private and public institutions.
- Calculation of the costs to maintain these goods and services.
- Estimation of the financial effects of nature, forests and landscapes on regional economies.
The work of WSL`s research unit “Economics and Social Sciences” investigates the following research themes:
- Measures and strategies to realize the economic value of nature and landscapes.
- Regional potential of sustainable agriculture and forestry on cultural heritage landscapes.
- Economic valuation of cultural and environmental goods and services provided by nature, forests and (heritage) landscape.
- Economic investigation of the effects of nature-oriented tourism and other economic activities on added value and employment.
- Economic and societal effects of parks and other protected areas.Societal attitudes towards measures to valorize nature and landscapes.