Understanding citizen perceptions of the Eastern Hills of Bogota: a participatory place-based ecosystem service assessment




Robson, Eleanor
van Kerkhoff, Lorrae
Cork, Steven

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Springer Verlag


Integrated assessment of natural and human systems is regarded as a way to facilitate effective governance of complex environmental issues, and engagement of stakeholders is recognised as a key requirement of such an assessment. Place-based ecosystem service analysis is one framework for integrative research on understanding citizen values. By using the lens of place, participants can articulate values and perceptions. Advantages of this framework are particularly relevant in the urban setting, given that the population and functioning of cities create especially high pressure on ecosystems and biodiversity of the surrounding areas. This study reports on a place-based ecosystem service analysis study in Bogota, Colombia. It aimed to identify how urban citizens conceptualise the socio-ecological value of a nearby protected natural area, the Eastern Hills Protected Forest Area. The objective was to generate an integrated understanding of the services the Hills provide to Bogota. The study found that the services of fresh water and habitat provision, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, erosion control and climate and air quality were highly prioritised ecosystem services due to their fundamental importance for the maintenance of human life. The Hills also hold cultural value for Bogotans, such as a sense of belonging and identity, being the natural symbol of Bogota and inspiration for escapism. There is enthusiasm for greater stewardship and conservation of the Hills, and demand for a greater role in decision making. The place-based ecosystem service approach can be developed as a tool for developing an integrated understanding of citizen values for landscape management.



Ecosystem services, Ecosystem service demand, Citizen values, Place-based assessment, Bogota



Urban Ecosystems


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