While the benefits of multifunctional landscapes has been underlined by previous studies, assessing human perceptions of these benefits can be enhanced by applying methodological approaches that examine the perceived distributions and interactions among ecosystem services. This study applied Shannon’s diversity and Simpson’s evenness metrics from landscape ecology to advance an approach for assessing general and place-specific patterns of perceived ecosystem services and the existence of ecosystem service bundles in North Khorasan, Iran. A typology of 12 different ecosystem services, within three categories of provisioning, cultural ecosystem services, and biodiversity was established. A total of 158 individuals from the study area mapped these services individually on a hard copy through interviews and filled a semi-structured questionnaire regarding their socio-economic characteristics. In addition to showing areas of value abundance and diversity, we showed areas where specific ecosystem services were evenly or unevenly distributed across the landscape. Grazing ecosystem service showed to have the most even distribution in the study area, followed by cultivation and aesthetics as next services with more spread-out areal distributions. We found strong correlations between different types of cultural ecosystem services including tourism, social and spiritual services, which formed bundles on the landscape. The results also revealed partial bundling of clean water service with cultural ecosystem services and other provisioning services such as grazing. We conclude that these perceptions can complement the information necessary to develop sustainable planning and management strategies in order to promote landscape multi-functionality.
Keywords: participatory mapping, landscape ecology, landscape metrics, ecosystem services bundles, social assessment, place attachment