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Mapping Perceived Social Values of Riparian Ecosystems: Case Study in Southeastern Arizona, USA; Roy Petrakis

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2021 Conference
Mapping Perceived Social Values of Riparian Ecosystems: Case Study in Southeastern Arizona, USA
Roy Petrakis 1*, Laura Norman 1, Oliver Lysaght 2,3, Benson Sherrouse 4, Darius Semmens 4, Kenneth Bagstad 4, Richard Pritzlaff 2,5
1 U.S. Geological Survey, Western Geographic Science Center, 520 N. Park Avenue, Tucson, AZ, 85719, U.S.A.;,
2 Borderlands Restoration Network, 1 School St., Patagonia, AZ 85624, U.S.A.;
3 London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), University of London, London, England
4 U.S. Geological Survey, Geosciences & Environmental Change Science Center, P.O. Box 25046, MS-980, Denver, CO 80225, U.S.A.;,,
5 The Biophilia Foundation, 1201 Parson Island Road, Chester, MD 21619, U.S.A.;
Landscapes being considered for future conservation or ecological restoration are often chosen based on biophysical attributes, without considering the preferences of local citizens. In an effort to identify ecosystem services to invest in and prioritize, we applied the Social Values for Ecosystem Services (SolVES) GIS-based model to map perceived social values based on results from a social survey and a selection of environmental variables within the Sonoita Creek watershed in southeastern Arizona. The social survey respondents were asked about their overall engagement with the landscape through questions regarding their familiarity and relationships with restoration, land use, and water. Additionally, the respondents were asked to rank a collection of social values (e.g., aesthetic, biological diversity, or life sustaining value) and to place points on a map in locations that identify their associations with the landscape. The locations of these points are linked with a collection of spatial environmental variables, including land use and distance from water channels. The SolVES model outputs spatially explicit representations of high and low social value across the landscape and portrays where and how respondents perceive value. High perceived social values were located particularly along primary and secondary riparian channels as well as larger water bodies throughout the watershed. This suggests that respondents of the survey highly value riparian areas and hydrologic ecosystem services. The highest-rated social values were, respectively, life sustaining services, biological diversity, and aesthetic value. These results can guide land managers in public engagement and stewardship and possible restoration objectives.

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