Framing ecosystem services: Affecting behaviour of actors in collaborative landscape planning?

P. Opdam*, I. Coninx, A.R.P.J. Dewulf, E.G. Steingrover, C.C. Vos, M.M. van der Wal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of ecosystem services shifts the human–nature relationship from a conservation-orientedinto a utility-oriented one. Advocates of the concept assume that it can alter the attitude and behaviour ofhuman actors with respect to nature. The ecosystem services concept has so far received little attentionin scientific literature about collaborative landscape planning. Consequently the potential of informationabout ecosystem services to influence landscape planning processes is unknown. In this paper we addressthe impact of different storylines about ecosystem services on actor behaviour. In these storylines, wedistinguish three frames on ecosystem services: a social–cultural frame (emphasizing social–culturalservices), an economic frame (emphasizing production services) and a sustainability frame (highlightingregulation services). We propose a conceptual framework in which we connect the concept of framingto attitudinal, sender–receiver and contextual factors. The framework is illustrated by a spatial planningexperiment with academic students and by a case of collaborative landscape planning. The student exper-iment illustrates how attitudinal factors may intervene in the impact frames on actor behaviour. The caseanalysis shows how researchers who facilitated collaborative landscape planning used various framesas they attempted to build up the actor network to create collaborative relations in different phases ofthe planning process. The significance of our paper is that we provide an approach to investigate howinformation on ecosystem service benefits is processed by multiple actors in collaborative landscapeplanning processes. Our exploration implies that planners who facilitate a collaborative planning pro-cess have to be aware that purposively using ecosystem service frames stimulates engagement of actorswith diverging backgrounds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-231
JournalLand Use Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • biodiversity
  • perception
  • governance
  • management
  • frames


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