Transcendental values and the valuation and management of ecosystem services

Christopher M. Raymond*, Jasper O. Kenter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


Despite the wealth of studies assessing values in relation to the management of ecosystem services, few studies have assessed transcendental values (TVs). TVs include ethical principles and desirable end states, such as ‘a world at peace’ or ‘unity with nature’ that transcend specific situations. We argue that TVs are important to consider in relation to ecosystem services because they: are implicit within ecosystem service valuations; directly and indirectly affect behaviour; influence the way we view knowledge and evidence; may be shared when more superficial values conflict; and underpin social representations. We demonstrate through case examples from the United Kingdom, Solomon Islands and Australia how they can be applied to the assessment of pro-environmental behaviour, how they might influence monetary valuations, and be affected by deliberative processes. TVs had direct effects on behavioural intention and significantly influenced willingness to pay. In contrast to conceptions of TVs as stable, in some cases deliberation led to significant change in TVs. We also observed indirect effects between TVs and constructs that mediate between TVs and behaviour, including beliefs and norms about conservation actions. We discuss the implications of the results for ecosystem valuation and management, including directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-257
Number of pages17
JournalEcosystem Services
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Conservation planning
  • Deliberative valuation
  • Participatory psychometrics
  • Pro-environmental behaviour
  • Shared values
  • Value-belief-norm theory


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