The concept of ecosystem services (ES) – the benefits that nature provides to humankind – has gained momentum in academia in the last twenty years. The concept has been adopted in several policy frameworks, such as the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020. But, the uptake of the ES concept in land use planning and nature and landscape management in practice is very limited. Literature suggests that this implementation gap is linked to the limited compatibility between the ES concept and the notions of nature with stakeholders (decision-makers, politicians, land use planners, natural resource managers, public). First, our research looks into individuals’ images of nature and stakeholder groups’ social representations of nature and discuss how these converge with the ES concept. Our results show that the anthropocentric and utilitarian perspective in the ES concept is only partially reflecting people’s notion of nature. Secondly, we apply a social mapping technique for localising stakeholders’ perceptions and use of nature. We illustrate that this approach is beneficial to traditional methods, and needed to integrate social assessments with economic and biophysical ES assessments. Finally, we develop an operational framework for integrating stakeholderbased ES assessments in “real world” planning and management processes. This framework illustrates how our methods can contribute to a common ground and common language for ES assessment. Our methods contribute to designing tailored ES assessment processes, that are grounded in stakeholders’ representations of nature and eventually can see an enhanced uptake in practice.
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|Published - 2018