FORT – Future of rural territories

Assessment of ecosystem services as an alternative for spatial planning of rural areas in Switzerland

Spatial planning is a key instrument for decision-making to coordinate human activities and to minimize their negative impacts on the natural and land systems. In Switzerland, it is a particularly important subject from its political, geographical, economic and cultural features. A large share of the economy depends on the services provided by the environment and the landscape, as shown as by the importance of tourism or agriculture. The concept of ecosystem services (ES) opens a new perspective for spatial planning. It is essential to manage them in a way that maintains their supplies. We argue that the ES concept is intrinsically transdisciplinary, which helps foster a co-constructed, legitimate understanding of complex issues. We also postulate that building a temporally informed framework is crucial to understand the spatio-temporal dynamics for individual services and their associations. In Switzerland, rural areas are the largest pool of ecosystem services, where most external flows occur towards urban areas, but they also suffer from a high level of human impact. The aim of this research is to understand the role of ecosystem services in spatial planning of rural areas in Switzerland.

Scientific outputs

Journal articles

Integration of ecosystem services in regional spatial plans in Western Switzerland

Historical dynamics of ecosystem services and land management policies in Switzerland

National assessment of cultural ecosystem services: Participatory mapping in Switzerland

Cultural ecosystem services provision in response to urbanization in Cameroon


Participatory mapping of cultural ecosystem services in a federal state: lessons learnt from Switzerland

Applying participatory geographic information systems to evaluate cultural ecosystem services in Yaoundé, Cameroon

Conducting participatory mapping of cultural ecosystem services at the national scale: a case of Switzerland

Ecosystem services and federalism: a case study of Switzerland


Web-based assessment of cultural ecosystem services in Switzerland

General information

Team: Rémi Jaligot, Jérôme Chenal 

Contact: [email protected]

Funding: cantons of Western Switzerland