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E&S Home > Vol. 19, Iss. 4 > Art. 26 > Abstract Open Access Publishing 
Culture, Nature, and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services in Northern Namibia

Michael Schnegg, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Universität Hamburg
Robin Rieprich, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Universität Hamburg
Michael Pröpper, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Universität Hamburg


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Defining culture as shared knowledge, values, and practices, we introduce an anthropological concept of culture to the ecosystem-service debate. In doing so, we shift the focus from an analysis of culture as a residual category including recreational and aesthetic experiences to an analysis of processes that underlie the valuation of nature in general. The empirical analysis draws on ethnographic fieldwork conducted along the Okavango River in northern Namibia to demonstrate which landscape units local populations value for which service(s). Results show that subjects perceive many places as providing multiple services and that most of their valuations of ecosystem services are culturally shared. We attribute this finding to common experiences and modes of activities within the cultural groups, and to the public nature of the valuation process.

Key words

concept of culture; ecosystem services; ethnography; landscapes, Namibia; valuation

Copyright © 2014 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087