A fulfilled human life: Eliciting sense of place and cultural identity in two UK marine environments through the Community Voice Method

Gillian B. Ainsworth*, Jasper O. Kenter, Sebastian O'Connor, Francis Daunt, Juliette C. Young

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human impacts on the marine environment threaten the wellbeing of hundreds of millions of people. Marine environments are a common-pool resource (CPR) and one of their major management challenges is how to incorporate the value of ecosystem services to society in decision-making. Cultural ecosystem services (CES) relate to the often intangible benefits people receive from their interactions with the natural environment and contribute to individual and collective human wellbeing. Priority knowledge gaps include the need to better understand shared values regarding CES, and how to effectively integrate these values into decision-making. We filmed 40 Community Voice Method interviews with marine stakeholders in two areas of the UK to improve on the valuation of coastal and marine CES. Results show that cultural benefits including sense of place, aesthetic pleasure and cultural identity were bi-directional, contributed directly to a ‘fulfilled human life’ and were associated with charismatic marine life and biodiversity. Other-regarding self-transcendence values were salient underscoring a desire for sustainable marine management. We critically reflect on our analytical framework that integrates aspects of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment and IPBES conceptual frameworks. The thematic codebook developed for this study could prove useful for future comparative studies in other marine CES contexts. We propose that values-led management could increase the efficacy of marine planning strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100992
JournalEcosystem Services
Early online date20 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 Published by Elsevier BV


  • Cultural values
  • Ethnography
  • Local knowledge
  • Marine ecosystem services
  • Reciprocal values
  • Shared values
  • Social values

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