Modeling cultural ecosystem services (Case study: Recreational Ecosystem Services in Behbahan county)

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Natural Resources and Earth Sciences, Shahrekord University, Shahrekord, Iran

2 Department of Environment, Faculty of Natural Resources, Behbahan Khatam Alanbia University of Technology, Behbahan, Behbahan, Iran

3 Department of Biodiversity, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran


Extended abstract
Introduction: Goods and services that are provided by ecosystems in favorable environmental conditions, for the welfare of humans, are called ecosystem services. Recreational ecosystem service, which is in the category of cultural services, is one of the most valuable services in urban ecosystems, which increases the physical and mental health of the urban residents. Recreational value is defined as the capacity of ecosystems to provide recreational opportunities such as walking, cycling, plant and animal viewing, running and outdoor sports. Due to the importance of ecosystem services, the present study was conducted with the aim of evaluating and quantifying recreational services in Behbahan county.
Materials and methods: In this study, a combination of Landsat 8 and Sentinel 2 images was used to prepare a land use map for 2021. The image was prepared with the maximum Likelihood algorithm in 12 class. Outdoor recreation was also modeled by the Recreational Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) method. In this model, the final recreation map is classified into 9 classes. This model can be used in almost all surveys of the landscape and it is a practical process with principles that force managers to justify management from the three perspectives of resource protection, opportunity for public use, and meeting favorable conditions in the region.
Results and discussion: The results of recreational ecosystem service supply in Behbahan county show that the sixth Category (Medium provision - not easily accessible) and the eighth Category (High provision - accessible) in the current situation have the highest and lowest land cover, respectively. The places in the northeast of the region have the highest recreational potential due to the location of the Maron Dam and the protected areas of the city. In addition, there are no human activities and aggregation of urban areas in these Places. In the center of the region, due to the accumulation of urban areas and the network of roads, the recreational potential is at its lowest. Also, parts of the south and west of the region have relatively favorable recreational potential. The composition of the area cover in these parts includes water areas and dense range. According to the results, recreational opportunities were affected by topography. Because in the northern landscape, due to the mountainous nature and other natural attractions (water bodies, forests and protected areas), there are more recreational opportunities than the center and other parts which is located at lower altitudes and is mainly covered by human activities. In addition, places with low population density and far from the city center and roads always show a higher opportunity for recreation.
Conclusion: According to the results, understanding the environmental effects of land use change and urban sprawl on recreational ecosystem service may help to achieve cost-effective results in the future. In this regard, policymakers and planners of Behbahan county should focus on improving leisure opportunities in the central, southern, western and southwestern regions. Due to the fact that recreational ecosystem service in Behbahan county is different in different places, thus, this result highlights the importance of using the value of ecosystem services in urban planning and policy priorities.