Assessing shared, plural and cultural values of ecosystems

Integrating monetary and non-monetary approaches to assessing shared, plural and cultural values of ecosystems

By improving our understanding of the differences between individual, shared, plural and cultural values, and how to assess them, this research will provide policy-makers with the evidence and tools necessary to give social impacts more robust consideration in future policy decisions. The project includes three deliberative monetary- and non-monetary valuation case studies assessing the value of ecosystem services (the benefits of ecosystems to human well-being). These consider how social processes might shape shared values, and will test the merit of different monetary and non-monetary techniques for capturing these values. Although the project is largely framed around ecosystems and biodiversity, it will also review shared values around health and the project outcomes are expected to be valuable to all fields requiring social-economic valuation of non-marketed goods.

Outcome and Translation

Shared values are different from individual values and elicitation of shared values can have substantial advantages over conventional individual valuation. The ethical, moral and justice dimensions of many environmental issues necessitate approaches that allow for the elicitation of shared and plural values. However, there is widespread conflation and diversity of ways in which shared, plural, cultural and social values are used, but they are rarely conceptualised and often they are used interchangeably.

A mixed method approach is required to elicit the multiple dimensions of shared values. Deliberative and social learning processes can help people understand the values of others and can lead to increased sharing of values or greater acceptance of the decisions that emerge from such processes.

This research is a collaboration with the Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability (ACES) within the National Ecosystem Assessment Shared Values Working Group.

HERU researchers involved in this research project: Verity Watson and Mandy Ryan

External collaborators are: J Kenter (Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability, University of Aberdeen) and M Pinard (School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen)


Kenter, J.O., Bryce, R., Davies, A., Jobstvogt, N., Watson, V., Ranger, S., Solandt, J.L., Duncan, C., Christie, M., Crump, H., Irvine, K.N., Pinard, M. and Reed, M.S. (2013) The value of potential Marine Protected Areas in the UK to divers and sea anglers, Cambridge: UK National Ecosystem Assessment.

Jobstvogt, N., Watson, V. and Kenter, J. O. (2014) 'Looking below the surface: the cultural ecosystem service values of UK marine protected areas (MPAs)', Ecosystem Services, 10, 97-110.

Kenter, J. O. (2014) 'Integrating monetary and non-monetary approaches to the assessment of shared, plural and cultural values of ecosystem services', PhD thesis, University of Aberdeen. [Ryan, M. was a PhD supervisor.]

Kenter, J. O., Reed, M. S., Irvine, K. N., O'Brien, L., Brady, E., Bryce, R., Christie, M., Church, A., Cooper, N., Davies, A., Evely, A., Everard, M., Fazey, I., Hockley, N., Jobstvogt, N., Molloy, C., Orchard-Webb, J., Ravenscroft, N., Ryan, M. and Watson, V. (2014) UK National Ecosystem Assessment follow-on. Work package report 6: shared, plural and cultural values of ecosystems, Cambridge: UK National Ecosystem Assessment. [link]

Kenter, J. O., O'Brien, L., Hockley, N., Ravenscroft, N., Fazey, I., Irvine, K. N., Reed, M. S., Christie, M., Brady, E., Bryce, R., Church, A., Cooper, N., Davies, A., Evely, A., Everard, M., Fish, R., Fisher, J. A., Jobstvogt, N., Molloy, C., Orchard-Webb, J., Ranger, S., Ryan, M., Watson, V. and Williams, S. (2015) 'What are shared and social values of ecosystems?', Ecological Economics, 111, 86-99.

Kenter, J. O., Bryce, R., Christie, M., Cooper, N., Hockley, N., Irvine, K. N., Fazey, I., O’Brien, L., Orchard-Webb, J., Ravenscroft, N., Raymond, C. M., Reed, M. S., Tett, P. and Watson, V. (2016) 'Shared values and deliberative valuation: future directions', Ecosystem Services, 21(Part B), 358-371.

Kenter, J. O., Jobstvogt, N., Watson, V., Irvine, K. N., Christie, M. and Bryce, R. (2016) 'The impact of information, value-deliberation and group-based decision-making on values for ecosystem services: Integrating deliberative monetary valuation and storytelling', Ecosystem Services, 21(Part B),270-290.