‚Experience of nature‘– implementation of two different methods of the assessment of cultural ecosystem services

Master thesis by Maria Pleger


The focus of our work is the concept of ecosystem services, which combines biodiversity science with socio-ecological and economic aspects as an inter- and transdisciplinary research approach. This link makes it possible to deal with questions of high social relevance in a holistic approach using methods from different disciplines. There are still very few quantitative research work on cultural ecosystem services and their change in experience over time.


The task of the Masters’ thesis is: to assess and compare the experience and use of ecosystem services, especially cultural services, using the example of the three nature heritage areas of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU, see map). The interviews are conducted over three generations which were approached by three local schools and their pupils.

cooperation: Prof. Isabell Hensen (contact)

supervisor: Dr. Anett Richter

Aim of the Study

… is to answer the following questions:

Which ESS are perceived by each generation?

Which way those perceptions differ within and between the children, their parents and their grandparents?

What are the benefits to integrate the perspectives of additional actors (such as children and grandparents) for the assessment of cultural ecosystem services?

For some further studies the question, whether those areas were used or not, comes up as well.



Qualitative and semi-qualitative analysis has shown that all three generations (students, parents, and grandparents) share a common interest in using cultural ecosystem services in their immediate environment. Different cultural ecosystem services are used with different priorities. The frequency of use of cultural services varied according to age, gender and education. The results conclude that demographic factors should be taken into account when assessing cultural ecosystem services.

The results are published in a journal article.

About Maria Pleger
  • 2009 A-levels in Delitzsch
  • 2009-2012 stay abroad in France
  • 2012-2015 Bachelors‘ Biology in Halle (MLU)
  • seit 2015 Masters‘ Biology in Halle (MLU)
  • since 2015 private tutor
  • since December 2016 Masters‘ thesis in cooperation with UFZ/iDiv in Leipzig
Project partner

I would like to thank the following schools from Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt for the great cooperation and support:


Elementary school Authausen


Elementary school Steinfurth


Secondary school Gartenreich e.G.