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Ecosystems in Books: Evaluating the Inspirational Service of the Weser River in Germany

Wei Jiang and Rainer Marggraf
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Wei Jiang: State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
Rainer Marggraf: Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Georg-August-University Göttigen, 37073 Göttingen, Germany

Land, 2021, vol. 10, issue 7, 1-16

Abstract: Attempts at assessing the monetary value of cultural ecosystem services has proven challenging due to their non-material and non-market characteristics. Innovative methods are needed to fill this methodological gap. In this paper, a novel approach is developed for evaluating the inspirational service, one type of valuable cultural service, of a specific ecosystem embodied in published books. Taking the Weser River in Germany as an example, a breadth of evidence found in 19 books shows the strong inspiration of the river to people living around it who create plenty of literary and artistic works that represent different faces of the river, such as novels, poems, folklore and paintings. Based on the prices of these books and the estimated number of persons who have read these books, the total value of the inspirational service provided by the Weser River is calculated as 168,499 € from 1980 to 2019, leading to the annual value of 5616.63 €/year and the unit value of 0.24 €/ha/year with the water surface area of 23,123 ha and the period of 30 years. The advantages and shortcomings of this approach are discussed, and suggestions for the improvement and further research are made.

Keywords: cultural ecosystem services; valuation; river ecosystem; literature (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q15 Q2 Q24 Q28 Q5 R14 R52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Handle: RePEc:gam:jlands:v:10:y:2021:i:7:p:669-:d:581530