Sensing, feeling, thinking: Why the body, heart and mind are all important in ecosystem management

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Key messages

  • People value ecosystems for the different contributions that they make to human well-being, both material and non-material.
  • Non-material contributions, such as those related to identity, sense of place and psychological well-being, have affective, cognitive and sensory dimensions.
  • Although overlooked in ecosystem management and research, the affective and sensory aspects are important for connectedness with nature, human well-being, conservation and environmental justice.
  • This brief summarizes the main findings of qualitative research in Apurimac (Peru) that explores the affective, cognitive and sensory dimensions of people’s ecosystem experiences and imaginaries.
  • Understanding the diversity of people’s experiences and imaginaries is important for more equitable and sustainable ecosystem management.


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