Subproject 4

Nature’s Contributions to People, economic preferences and human well-being

Increasing human well-being is the core objective of international policies and action. Well-being results from a good quality of life and is regarded as values-based and context-dependent as well as assumed to have multiple constituents. Biodiversity is proposed to increase nature’s contributions to people (NCP) which then contribute to human well-being. So far, most studies on the NCP-well-being relationships have used very simplistic approaches, with little consideration of how to define, quantify and measure e.g. biodiversity. Consequently, we have a poor understanding of how various measures of biodiversity and in particular different NCP relate to the different constituents of human well-being. Further, the IPBES special assessment report for Africa stresses the essential role of biodiversity and NCP in providing food, water, energy, health and secure livelihood, acknowledging that the study of NCP is still in its infancy and that the number of published studies on the valuation of ecosystem services is rather low.


The overall objective SP4 is to comprehensively assess the effects of multiple regulating, material and non-material NCP on the various constituents of human well-being (i.e. access to food, water, shelter, health, education, good social relationships, physical, energy and livelihood security, equity, material prosperity, and participation in society) of the main stakeholder groups of Kilimanjaro including Chagga people, conventional farmers, tourists, agricultural and water, forest, and national park managers, as well as tourist operators. We will give a specific focus to factors which, besides having a direct effect, mediate and moderate the relation between NCP and the subjective well-being of the different stakeholder groups. We will focus on three types of factors (i) socio-economic factors (e.g. income, education), (ii) economic preferences (e.g. risk preferences, time preferences, trust) and personality (which we will assess by the Big Five personality traits), and (iii) market access and market exposure.

Previous economic approaches to investigate the NCP-well-being relationship are limited in their ability to capture NCP. Our SP improves this limitation by collaboration with other SPs. In terms of methodology, we will rely on behavioural field experiments and in terms of economic valuation on the subjective well-being (SWB) approach. Since less knowledge is required the SWB approach is cognitively less demanding than the stated preferences approaches. Also, people are not requested to place monetary values on the supply of NCP they are not familiar with. Since individual perspectives and attitudes can be expected to differ between stakeholder groups, analyses of this type seem particularly relevant at Kilimanjaro, with its multitude of stakeholder groups.

Team members

Prof. Dr. Katrin Rehdanz (Principal Investigator)
Prof. Dr. Dr. Ulrich Schmidt (Principal Investigator)
Prof. Dr. Berta Martín-López (Co-Principal Investigator)
Dr. Jennifer Kasanda Sesabo (Counterpart)
Dr. Susann Adloff (PostDoc)
Carla Hunklinger (PhD student)

(for more information see People page)