UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Ecosystem services and cultural values as building blocks for ‘The good life’. A case study in the community of Røst, Lofoten Islands, Norway Kaltenborn, Bjørn P.; Linnell, John D. C.; Baggethun, Erik Gómez; Lindhjem, Henrik; Thomassen, Jørn; Chan, Kai Ming Adam, 1975-


We examined the contribution of natural capital and social capital through the notion of cultural ecosystem services to shaping human well-being in the fishing community of Røst in the Lofoten Islands in Northern Norway. Through ethnographic observations, in-depth interviews, and a participatory scenario workshop we develop four narratives centering on the links of nature and ecosystem services. Benefits derived from ecosystem services are fundamental building blocks in the local vision of ‘the good life’ and emerge from a combination of satisfied preferences and struggle, hardships, and capabilities inflicted by a demanding environment and challenging work conditions. Beyond a certain level of meeting basic needs and provisioning of essential public services, simplicity in life and local control over resources and surroundings was preferred over a multitude of other opportunities and services. Well-being was strongly linked to maintenance of identity through traditional practices for harvesting of natural resources, nurturing of skills, social cohesion, and acting meaningfully in one’s local environment. In a relational perspective, cultural ecosystem services are constituted and given meaning through interaction with nature. The main policy implication is that contributions of natural and social capital to well-being proved to be hard to meaningfully separate.

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