A model integrating social-cultural concepts of nature into frameworks of interaction between social and natural systems

Document Type


Journal/Book Title

Journal of Environmental Planning and Management

Publication Date



Mountain Research Initiative at the Institute of Geography at the University of Bern

and Austrian Academy of Sciences


Taylor & Francis

First Page


Last Page



Existing frameworks for analysing interactions between social and natural systems (e.g. Social-Ecological Systems framework, Ecosystem Services concept) do not sufficiently consider and operationalize the dynamic interactions between people's values, attitudes and understandings of the human-nature relationship at both individual and collective levels. We highlight the relevance of individual and collective understandings of the human-nature relationship as influencing factors for environmental behaviour, which may be reflected in natural resource management conflicts, and review the diversity of existing social-cultural concepts, frameworks and associated research methods. Particular emphasis is given to the context-sensitivity of social-cultural concepts in decision-making. These aspects are translated into a conceptual model aiming not to replace but to expand and enhance existing frameworks. Integrating this model into existing frameworks provides a tool for the exploration of how social-cultural concepts of nature interact with existing contexts to influence governance of social-ecological systems.

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