|dc.description.abstract||This master thesis is concerned with ecosystem services, mountain landscapes and sheep grazing. Ecosystem services are benefits that human beings gets from nature. Ecosystem services are sorted into four main categories; provisioning services, regulating services, cultural services and supporting services. This thesis focuses on the cultural services and supporting services, i.e. outdoor recreation, place identity and natural and cultural heritage.
In human geography, landscape has a long tradition as an analytic tool. Landscape is a complex concept; it denotes something physical and visual which can be described. It also denotes something to be perceived and hence is a social construct. By examining people’s landscape preferences, it is possible to learn more about their value judgements related to landscape, which is the focus of this thesis. This thesis draws on both landscape and ecosystem services as analytical tools. They are both the result of different factors, natural and human.
This thesis presents results from ten qualitative interviews among cabin owners. The empirical material is collected through field work in Gjevilvassdalen in Oppdal (Norway). Oppdal has the largest density of sheep in the country, and is hence well suited to study landscapes, ecosystem services and effects of sheep grazing. Fieldwork was undertaken in the autumn of 2013. Gjevilvassdalen is a low alpine area, with both sheep grazing and a large number of cabins. Cabin owners are an interesting group of stakeholders because they use and perceive the landscape in ways which are set within ideas of cultural services.
The interviewees talked about the landscape of the valley in two ways. First, they described it from an outsider perspective as scenery, i.e. something to look at and enjoy. Second, they situated themselves as insiders as users of the landscape, i.e. through various recreational activities. Both natural and human landscape changes were topics during the interviews. The grazing of sheep is hightly valued, and the interviewees state that sheep belong in the landscape in Gjevilvasdalen because sheeps are also active users of the landscape as grazers. Hence they keep the landscape open.
This study illustrates that it is possible to link landscape and ecosystem services in order to bring out the values of the environment. The thesis is, however, questioning whether the framework is a useful analytic tool in research, or if more traditional qualitative landscape perspective would have brought the same results.||nb_NO