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Surrounded by nature – this is where we love to be

Surrounded by nature – this is where we love to be

Biosphere Zone The Vattenrike District in Kristianstad is involved in unique mapping of ecosystem services in four Nordic biosphere zones. With the help of a survey, Marilyn Schwartz found out what residents and visitors value in a landscape. 163 people distributed places and answered the question about how nature contributes to their well-being. It has become a basis for finding hotspots of cultural, provisional and regulating ecosystem services of the biosphere region.

119 people answered follow-up questions about age, gender, place of residence, and level of education. It turned out that an unusually large number of young people participated.

These activities are usually mostly engaged in by middle-aged men with higher education. Here there were less than 35 years. It gives an interesting perspective on what young people value in nature, says Katja Malmborg.

Visiting places are located at the focal point

Entertainment was the ecosystem service with the highest number of points on the survey's interactive web map across all age groups. Marilyn shows a map full of colored dots and areas.
Vattenriket visitor sites are located in the hotspot, as are the area of ​​hiking and cycling trails. She says that visiting places and trails is important for us so that we can appreciate the values ​​of the cultural landscape.

The same study was conducted in the Vindelälven-Juhttátahkka and Nordhordland biosphere regions in Norway and a similar study in the Archipelago Sea in Finland. Kristianstad's Vattenrike stands out in one respect. Here, there are an unusually large number of plants regulating ecosystem services, nature's ability to clean air and water, prevent flooding and pollinate plants. Katja and Marilyn see the survey as communicating what people know.

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– Those who answered in Vattenreket highlighted wetlands. “I interpret that as you've done a good job of making people aware of how important wetlands are,” says Katja.

Appreciate the feeling of being surrounded by nature

To get more perspectives, Katja conducted in-depth interviews with 15 residents and visitors to Vattenreket. I based it on photos of the interviewees' favorite places. The analysis is not completely complete, but Katja can already draw some conclusions about the core values ​​for choosing the sites. The results are divided into four narratives:

  • Beauty in everyday life – Many of them chose naturum and Helgeå and describe how they enjoy beautiful natural environments in everyday life – what is easily accessible, close to the road or at a short detour.
  • Rooms in nature – these are places where people feel completely surrounded by nature, for example in the Vorsakar Valley, when canoeing the Helge å or walking the Balsberget.
  • Identity and Cultural History – A cultural area that has been used for grazing cows for a long time is appreciated. Many chose pictures with grazing cows.
  • Bird watching – sledding with cranes in the spring, for example. It shows how important the places to visit, the towers and their accessibility are.

Katja and Marilyn hope that Biosphere Regions can use the results of the study to work to preserve, develop and make the areas more accessible.

– Many also appreciated the feeling of being surrounded by nature. Perhaps we can show the way to places that have these characteristics. How can we manage natural areas so that this feeling remains? says Katya.

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Marilyn's master's study will be part of Katja's postdoctoral project at the University of Bergen. The purpose is to explore landscape values, relationships between people and landscape, and sense of place. By combining quantitative and qualitative study, they want to create a broader picture. From comprehensive point maps to one's experience through a close-up of a small flower.

Participate in the interview study!

Study of the interview with Katya is still ongoing. Do you want to tell her about your favorite places in the Water Kingdom? Feel free to contact Katia. It would contribute valuable information to both research and Vattenriket's ongoing work to protect and make available our beautiful nature.