Coastal ecosystems are increasingly faced with human impacts. To better understand these changing conditions, biophysical and economic values of nature have been used to prioritize spatial planning efforts and ecosystem-based management of human activities. Less is known, however, about how to characterize and represent non-material values in decision-making. We collected on-site and mailback survey data (n = 209), and analyzed these data using the Social Values for Ecosystem Services (SolVES) GIS application to incorporate measures of social value and natural resource conditions on Hinchinbrook Island National Park, Australia. Our objectives in this paper are to: 1) determine the spatial distribution and point density of social values for ecosystem services; 2) examine the relationship between social values and natural resource conditions; and 3) compare social value allocations between two subgroups of outdoor recreationists. Results suggest that high priority areas exist on Hinchinbrook's land and seascapes according to the multiple values assigned to places by outdoor recreationists engaged in consumptive (e.g., fishing) and non-consumptive (e.g., hiking) activities. We examine statistically significant spatial clustering across two subgroups of the survey population for three value types that reflect Recreation, Biological Diversity, and Aesthetic qualities. The relationship between the relative importance of social values for ecosystem services and spatially-defined ecological data is explored to guide management decision-making in the context of an island national park setting.
Additional publication details
Mapping outdoor recreationists' perceived social values for ecosystem services at Hinchinbrook Island National Park, Australia