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Survey results for: Public perceptions of cultural ecosystem services provided by beach nourishment and eelgrass restoration in southern Sweden


Van Well, Lisa; Isayeva, Anelya; Olsson, Pål Axel; Hollander, Johan (2022), Survey results for: Public perceptions of cultural ecosystem services provided by beach nourishment and eelgrass restoration in southern Sweden, Dryad, Dataset,


Ecosystem-based protection is becoming a viable adaptation option to conventional engineered solutions to rising sea levels and coastal erosion. While the environmental and biological ecosystem services provided by ecosystem-based adaptation measures such as beach nourishment and/or seagrass plantations are being acknowledged and analysed, less attention has been paid to the social or cultural dimensions of these services. This paper builds upon the emerging body of research that explores cultural ecosystem services in coastal areas and how they are perceived by the people who live, work and recreate in these areas. The aim of the paper is to take stock of and understand public and stakeholder perceptions of the cultural ecosystem services that may accrue through eelgrass (Zostera marina) restoration in tandem with beach nourishment in Southern Sweden. The empirical research is based on an online open-ended questionnaire in the coastal municipalities of Båstad, Trelleborg, Ystad and Kristianstad. The results demonstrate that virtually all respondents had noticed a change in the coastline in recent years, mainly that the coastline had retreated. While beach nourishment measures were recognized among respondents to counter the shoreline erosion, there was very little understanding of the role that eelgrass plantations can play in creating biodiversity and benefits for society. Still, most acknowledged the importance of making room for water and biodiversity at the coast, stating how the coastline was valued for primarily health and spiritual reasons. This knowledge will help local, regional, and national decision-makers and regulatory authorities to make evidence-based choices for coastal protection, by complementing the analysis of environmental and physical ecosystem-services with cultural and socio-economic considerations. Nature-based solutions such as eelgrass reintroduction or beach nourishment should be tailored to the values, perspectives, and perceptions of the local communities to help ensure their continued contribution to biodiversity.


Data was collected via a qualitative semi-structured, partly open survey to the residents and beachgoers in Båstad, Ystad, Trelleborg and Kristianstad from September to November 2019. We used an online survey method for data collection to understand stakeholder perceptions of the cultural ecosystem services that NbS such as eelgrass restoration and beach nourishment might provide. The survey targeted with residents from the four municipalities and a total of 99 responses were collected. The online questionnaire survey was published in several Facebook groups from these municipalities. All surveys were completely anonymous and were performed at the survey portal Questions were developed to acquire information on the behaviour, knowledge, values, perceptions and feelings of people living, working and enjoying the case study coastal areas.

We used discourse analysis to categorize responses from citizens for the first three dimensions as social functions (social activities and recreation), buildings and infrastructure (properties) and valued sites. As the number of responses in this survey was not overwhelming, all results were coded according to framework and analyzed ’by hand’ and figures made in Excell.

Usage notes

All qualitative data files are provided in PDF and provided in both the original Swedish and translation to English.


Svenska Forskningsrådet Formas, Award: 2018-00640

Svenska Forskningsrådet Formas, Award: 2016-20135