Contributing to the cultural ecosystem services and human wellbeing debate: a case study application on indicators and linkages


  • Peter Waweru Wangai Kiel University, Institute for Natural Resource Conservation, Olshausenstr. 40, Kiel, 24098, Germany; Kenyatta University, Department of Environmental Studies and Community Development, P.O. Box 43844-00100, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Benjamin Burkhard Kiel University, Institute for Natural Resource Conservation, Olshausenstr. 40, Kiel, 24098, Germany; Leibniz Universität Hannover, Institute of Physical Geography and Landscape Ecology, Schneiderberg 50, Hannover, 30167, Germany
  • Marion Kruse Kiel University, Institute for Natural Resource Conservation, Olshausenstr. 40, Kiel, 24098, Germany
  • Felix Müller Kiel University, Institute for Natural Resource Conservation, Olshausenstr. 40, Kiel, 24098, Germany



Indicator selection, Interviews, Kenyya, DPSIR-framework, Human wellbeing


Inadequacies in the indication of cultural ecosystem services (CES) are a hindrance in assessing their comprehensive impacts on human wellbeing. Similarly, uncertainties about the quantity and quality of CES, in real time and space, have hampered the ability of resource managers to precisely take responsive management actions. The aim of the study is to demonstrate, how CES indicators can be identified and qualified in order to link CES to human wellbeing, and to integrate them into the ‘ecosystem services cascade’ and the Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) models. A case study methodology is applied at the Nairobi-Kiambu (Kenya) peri-urban area. Primary data on CES was collected in the case study through survey, field observations and matrix tables. Secondary data originates from literature analysis. Results show that the participatory identification of CES and human wellbeing indicators could improve their transparency
and comprehensibility. The environmental policy formulation and implementation processes have been demonstrated. The tripartite framework of CES-human wellbeing-DPSIR has demonstrated more linkages and feedbacks than initially indicated in the cascade model. For policy formulation and implementation, appropriate communication of results is mandatory. This is illustrated by a terminology that enables the transfer of scientific messages to stakeholders, especially for the local people. The conclusion indicates the importance of consistency in qualifying CES and human wellbeing indicators even at this time of urgency to bridge the gaps existing in CES and human wellbeing research.


Human development report 2013. (2013). Human Development Report 2013,

Report from the workshop on ecosystem service indicators: "developing and mainstreaming ecosystem service indicators for human wellbeing: Gaps, opportunities and next steps". (2009). , 1-33.

World development indicators 2016: Featuring the sustainable development goals. databank. (2016). World Bank World Development Indicators,

Abunge, C., Coulthard, S., & Daw, T. M. (2013). Connecting marine ecosystem services to human well-being: Insights from participatory well-being assessment in kenya. Ambio, 42(8), 1010-1021. doi:10.1007/s13280-013-0456-9

Alderman, D. H., & Dwyer, O. J. (2009). Memorials and monuments. International encyclopedia of human geography (pp. 51-58) doi:10.1016/B978-008044910-4.00974-3

Alkire, S. (2002). Dimensions of human development. World Development, 30(2), 181-205. doi:10.1016/S0305-750X(01)00109-7

Alkire, S. (2011). Multidimensional poverty and its discontents. Multidimensional Poverty and its Discontents,

Bérenger, V., & Verdier-Chouchane, A. (2007). Multidimensional measures of well-being: Standard of living and quality of life across countries. World Development, 35(7), 1259-1276. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2006.10.011

Biedenweg, K., Hanein, A., Nelson, K., Stiles, K., Wellman, K., Horowitz, J., & Vynne, S. (2014). Developing human wellbeing indicators in the puget sound: Focusing on the watershed scale. Coastal Management, 42(4), 374-390. doi:10.1080/08920753.2014.923136

Biodiversity Indicators Partnership. (2011). Guidance for national biodiversity indicator development and use. Guidance for National Biodiversity Indicator Development and use,

Brida, J. G., Disegna, M., & Scuderi, R. (2013). Visitors of two types of museums: A segmentation study. Expert Systems with Applications, 40(6), 2224-2232. doi:10.1016/j.eswa.2012.10.039

Brown, C., Reyers, B., Ingwall-King, L., Mapendembe, A., Nel, J., O'Farrell, P., . . . Bowles-Newark, N. J. (2014). Measuring ecosystem services: Guidance on developing ecosystem service indicators. Measuring Ecosystem Services: Guidance on Developing Ecosystem Service Indicators,

Burgess, E. W. (1954). Social relations, activities, and personal adjustment. American Journal of Sociology, 59(4), 352-360.

Burkhard, B., & Müller, F. (2008). Driver-pressure-state-impact-response. Encyclopedia of ecology, five-volume set (pp. 967-970) doi:10.1016/B978-008045405-4.00129-4

Canaviri, J. A. (2016). Measuring the concept of bwellbeing: A first approach for bolivia. International Journal of Wellbeing, 6(1), 36-80.

Chan, K. M. A., Satterfield, T., & Goldstein, J. (2012). Rethinking ecosystem services to better address and navigate cultural values. Ecological Economics, 74, 8-18. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.11.011

Chiesura, A. (2004). The role of urban parks for the sustainable city. Landscape and Urban Planning, 68(1), 129-138. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2003.08.003

Costanza, R., D'Arge, R., De Groot, R., Farber, S., Grasso, M., Hannon, B., . . . Van Den Belt, M. (1997). The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature, 387(6630), 253-260. doi:10.1038/387253a0

Daniel, T. C., Muhar, A., Arnberger, A., Aznar, O., Boyd, J. W., Chan, K. M. A., . . . Von Der Dunk, A. (2012). Contributions of cultural services to the ecosystem services agenda. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(23), 8812-8819. doi:10.1073/pnas.1114773109

Darvill, R., & Lindo, Z. (2015). Quantifying and mapping ecosystem service use across stakeholder groups: Implications for conservation with priorities for cultural values. Ecosystem Services, 13, 153-161. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2014.10.004

de Groot, R. S., Alkemade, R., Braat, L., Hein, L., & Willemen, L. (2010). Challenges in integrating the concept of ecosystem services and values in landscape planning, management and decision making. Ecological Complexity, 7(3), 260-272. doi:10.1016/j.ecocom.2009.10.006

Diener, E., & Suh, E. (1997). Measuring quality of life: Economic, social, and subjective indicators. Social Indicators Research, 40(1-2), 189-216. doi:10.1023/a:1006859511756

Dobbs, C., Escobedo, F. J., & Zipperer, W. C. (2011). A framework for developing urban forest ecosystem services and goods indicators. Landscape and Urban Planning, 99(3-4), 196-206. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2010.11.004

Dodge, R., Daly, A., Huyton, J., & Sanders, L. (2012). The challenge of defining wellbeing. International Journal of Wellbeing, 2(3), 222-235.

Duraiappah, A. (2002). Poverty and Ecosystems: A Conceptual Framework, , 27.

FAO. (2010). Global forest resource assessment 2010, FAO. Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010,

Feld, C. K., Da Silva, P. M., Sousa, J. P., De Bello, F., Bugter, R., Grandin, U., . . . Harrison, P. (2009). Indicators of biodiversity and ecosystem services: A synthesis across ecosystems and spatial scales. Oikos, 118(12), 1862-1871. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0706.2009.17860.x

Foxall, A. (2013). A contested landscape: Monuments, public memory, and post-soviet identity in stavropol', russia. Communist and Post-Communist Studies, 46(1), 167-178. doi:10.1016/j.postcomstud.2012.12.012

Francis, J., Giles-Corti, B., Wood, L., & Knuiman, M. (2012). Creating sense of community: The role of public space. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 32(4), 401-409. doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2012.07.002

Frew, E. J., Wolstenholme, J. L., & Whynes, D. K. (2004). Comparing willingness-to-pay: Bidding game format versus open-ended and payment scale formats. Health Policy, 68(3), 289-298. doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2003.10.003

Gee, K., & Burkhard, B. (2010). Cultural ecosystem services in the context of offshore wind farming: A case study from the west coast of schleswig-holstein. Ecological Complexity, 7(3), 349-358. doi:10.1016/j.ecocom.2010.02.008

Haines-Young, R., & Potschin, M. (2010). The links between biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being. Ecosystem Ecology: A New Synthesis, , 110-139.

Harrison, F., van Sluijs, E. M. F., Corder, K., & Jones, A. (2016). School grounds and physical activity: Associations at secondary schools, and over the transition from primary to secondary schools. Health and Place, 39, 34-42. doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2016.02.004

Headey, B., & Wearing, A. (1992). Understanding Happiness: A Theory of Subjective Well-being,

Hernández-Morcillo, M., Plieninger, T., & Bieling, C. (2013). An empirical review of cultural ecosystem service indicators. Ecological Indicators, 29, 434-444. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2013.01.013

Herzlich, C. (1973). Health and Illness: A Social Psychological Analysis,

Hou, Y., Burkhard, B., & Müller, F. (2013). Uncertainties in landscape analysis and ecosystem service assessment. Journal of Environmental Management, 127, S117-S131. doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.12.002

K'Akumu, O. A., & Olima, W. H. A. (2007). The dynamics and implications of residential segregation in nairobi. Habitat International, 31(1), 87-99. doi:10.1016/j.habitatint.2006.04.005

Kandziora, M., Burkhard, B., & Müller, F. (2013). Interactions of ecosystem properties, ecosystem integrity and ecosystem service indicators: A theoretical matrix exercise. Ecological Indicators, 28, 54-78. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2012.09.006

La Rosa, D., Spyra, M., & Inostroza, L. (2016). Indicators of cultural ecosystem services for urban planning: A review. Ecological Indicators, 61, 74-89. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.04.028

Luederitz, C., Brink, E., Gralla, F., Hermelingmeier, V., Meyer, M., Niven, L., . . . von Wehrden, H. (2015). A review of urban ecosystem services: Six key challenges for future research. Ecosystem Services, 14, 98-112. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2015.05.001

Makachia, P. A. (2011). Evolution of urban housing strategies and dweller-initiated transformations in nairobi. City, Culture and Society, 2(4), 219-234. doi:10.1016/j.ccs.2011.11.001

Margry, P. J. (2008). Shrines and Pilgrimage in the Modern World: New Itineraries into the Sacred,

Mascarenhas, A., Ramos, T. B., Haase, D., & Santos, R. (2016). Participatory selection of ecosystem services for spatial planning: Insights from the lisbon metropolitan area, portugal. Ecosystem Services, 18, 87-99. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2016.02.011

Mazumdar, S., & Mazumdar, S. (2004). Religion and place attachment: A study of sacred places. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 24(3), 385-397. doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2004.08.005

Metzger, M. J., Rounsevell, M. D. A., Acosta-Michlik, L., Leemans, R., & Schröter, D. (2006). The vulnerability of ecosystem services to land use change. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 114(1), 69-85. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2005.11.025

Milcu, A. I., Hanspach, J., Abson, D., & Fischer, J. (2013). Cultural ecosystem services: A literature review and prospects for future research. Ecology and Society, 18(3) doi:10.5751/ES-05790-180344

Müller, F., Bergmann, M., Dannowski, R., Dippner, J. W., Gnauck, A., Haase, P., . . . Theuerkauf, M. (2016). Assessing resilience in long-term ecological data sets. Ecological Indicators, 65, 10-43. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.10.066

Müller, F., & Burkhard, B. (2012). The indicator side of ecosystem services. Ecosystem Services, 1(1), 26-30. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2012.06.001

Müller, F., Burkhard, B., & Kroll, F. (2010). Resilience, integrity and ecosystem dynamics: Bridging ecosystem theory and management doi:10.1007/978-3-540-75761-0_14

Müller, F., Hoffmann-Kroll, R., & Wiggering, H. (2000). Indicating ecosystem integrity - theoretical concepts and environmental requirements. Ecological Modelling, 130(1-3), 13-23. doi:10.1016/S0304-3800(00)00210-6

Mundia, C. N., & Aniya, M. (2005). Analysis of land use/cover changes and urban expansion of nairobi city using remote sensing and GIS. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 26(13), 2831-2849. doi:10.1080/01431160500117865

Nassl, M., & Löffler, J. (2015). Ecosystem services in coupled social–ecological systems: Closing the cycle of service provision and societal feedback. Ambio, 44(8), 737-749. doi:10.1007/s13280-015-0651-y

NEUGARTEN, B. L., HAVIGHURST, R. J., & TOBIN, S. S. (1961). The measurement of life satisfaction. Journal of Gerontology, 16, 134-143. doi:10.1093/geronj/16.2.134

Niemeijer, D., & de Groot, R. S. (2008). A conceptual framework for selecting environmental indicator sets. Ecological Indicators, 8(1), 14-25. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2006.11.012

Petty, N. J., Thomson, O. P., & Stew, G. (2012). Ready for a paradigm shift? part 2: Introducing qualitative research methodologies and methods. Manual Therapy, 17(5), 378-384. doi:10.1016/j.math.2012.03.004

Plieninger, T., Dijks, S., Oteros-Rozas, E., & Bieling, C. (2013). Assessing, mapping, and quantifying cultural ecosystem services at community level. Land use Policy, 33, 118-129. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.12.013

Potschin, M., Haines-Young, R., Fish, R., & Turner, R. K. (2016). Routledge handbook of ecosystem services. Routledge Handbook of Ecosystem Services,

Ryff, C. D. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57(6), 1069-1081.

Sagie, H., Morris, A., Rofè, Y., Orenstein, D. E., & Groner, E. (2013). Cross-cultural perceptions of ecosystem services: A social inquiry on both sides of the israeli-jordanian border of the southern arava valley desert. Journal of Arid Environments, 97, 38-48. doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2013.05.007

Sainani, K. L. (2014). Introduction to principal components analysis. PM and R, 6(3), 275-278. doi:10.1016/j.pmrj.2014.02.001

Saisana, M., & Philippas, D. (2012). Sustainable society index (SSI): Taking societies' pulse along social, environmental and economic issues. Environ.Impact Assess.Rev., 32, 94-106.

Seligman, M. E. P. (2011). Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being,

Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Authentic happiness: Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment. Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment,

Shin, D. C., & Johnson, D. M. (1978). Avowed happiness as an overall assessment of the quality of life. Social Indicators Research, 5(1-4), 475-492. doi:10.1007/BF00352944

Spanò, M., Gentile, F., Davies, C., & Lafortezza, R. (2017). The DPSIR framework in support of green infrastructure planning: A case study in southern italy. Land use Policy, 61, 242-250. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2016.10.051

Steenbarger, B. N. (2015). Trading Psychology 2.0: From Best Practices to Best Processes,

Stone, L., Gabric, A., & Berman, T. (1996). Ecosystem resilience, stability, and productivity: Seeking a relationship. American Naturalist, 148(5), 892-903. doi:10.1086/285961

Tenerelli, P., Demšar, U., & Luque, S. (2016). Crowdsourcing indicators for cultural ecosystem services: A geographically weighted approach for mountain landscapes. Ecological Indicators, 64, 237-248. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.12.042

Thieme, T. A. (2015). Turning hustlers into entrepreneurs, and social needs into market demands: Corporate-community encounters in nairobi, kenya. Geoforum, 59, 228-239. doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2014.11.010

Thompson, C. W. (2002). Urban open space in the 21st century. Landscape and Urban Planning, 60(2), 59-72. doi:10.1016/S0169-2046(02)00059-2

Tratalos, J. A., Haines-Young, R., Potschin, M., Fish, R., & Church, A. (2016). Cultural ecosystem services in the UK: Lessons on designing indicators to inform management and policy. Ecological Indicators, 61, 63-73. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.03.040

Turner, R. K., & Daily, G. C. (2008). The ecosystem services framework and natural capital conservation. Environmental and Resource Economics, 39(1), 25-35. doi:10.1007/s10640-007-9176-6

Weidenhammer, E., & Gross, A. (2013). Museums and scientific material culture at the university of toronto. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, 44(4), 725-734. doi:10.1016/j.shpsa.2013.07.015

Willemen, L., Verburg, P. H., Hein, L., & van Mensvoort, M. E. F. (2008). Spatial characterization of landscape functions. Landscape and Urban Planning, 88(1), 34-43. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2008.08.004

Younan, S., & Treadaway, C. (2015). Digital 3D models of heritage artefacts: Towards a digital dream space. Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, 2(4), 240-247. doi:10.1016/j.daach.2015.11.001





How to Cite

Wangai, P. W., Burkhard, B., Kruse, M., & Müller, F. (2017). Contributing to the cultural ecosystem services and human wellbeing debate: a case study application on indicators and linkages. Landscape Online, 50.