Monetising cultural ecosystem services?
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ABSTRACT In the context of increasing degradation of the environment, the economic valuation of ecosystem services represents an attempt to quantify the contribution of nature to human wellbeing. This approach has been subject to many critiques, namely, that centred on the utilitarian assumption of the self-?‐interested-?‐man, which posits a consumerist basis to environmental valuing. This dominant environmental ethic is due largely to the paucity of viable metrics to capture the cultural values that humans attach to the environment. This paper considers the case of rural communities in Brazil, to examine some of the cultural views and social issues emerging from farmers’ ecological knowledge and their agriculture practices, which inherently occupy natural and social spaces. Their worldviews transcend the mere instrumental practice of production and are determinant to the farmers’ construction of value. The findings of this study support the appeals to a user-?‐based decision-?‐making process, which would reveal the non-?‐economic social and personal perspectives that are conducive to our ecological behaviours.