Natures Contribution to People

Contributi della Natura all’Umanità

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Human existence and wellbeing depends on functioning ecosystems, for example, for the provision of clean water, food, and timber. Ecosystems also regulate the climate and water recharge, improve the air and water quality, control erosion and diseases, and protect from natural hazards. Natural environments offer numerous opportunities for recreational activities and aesthetic experiences, in addition to contributing to inspiration and cultural heritage. These nature’s contributions to people (NCPs), also known as ecosystem services, are greatly influenced by human activities and decisions, such as the type of land use and land management. Therefore, it is highly important to deepen the understanding of human-nature relationships and to provide a scientific basis for decision-making by mapping and quantifying NCPs as well as by studying people’s preferences and perceived benefits. Our institute focuses on the assessment of NCPs in mountain regions across different spatial and temporal scales. We have strong expertise in mapping of NCPs based on environmental or socio-economic characteristics. We set high effort in the development of suitable indicators and models. Using questionnaires and social media data, we also aim at identifying people’s preferences related to mountain landscapes.