Non-material contributions of nature expressed by former tourists of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

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Nature-based tourism provides an outlet for people to experience non-material nature's contributions to people (NCP) and can even promote care for nature. Yet, the literature on NCP is still dominated by studies on regulating and material NCP, with limited research on non-material contributions. Semi-structured interviews and photo-elicitation methods were conducted online with 38 former tourists who have hiked Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, to investigate NCP experiences during their hiking journey. Drawing on the guiding principles of the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), an interwoven approach was used to link context-specific NCP expressed by tourists to the generalizing perspective. Ten context-specific non-material NCP emerged including Aesthetic experiences; Learning and life-changing perspectives; New and unique experiences; and Social cohesion and bonding. All context-specific NCP were linked back to the generalizing perspective, with most NCP falling under the generalizing category of Physical and psychological experiences. This paper reveals the unique and diverse ways that nature contributes to people's lives, promoting the visibility of multiple perspectives and their incorporation into biodiversity conservation and sustainable management strategies. Through an interwoven approach, NCP can be compared on a universal scale while respecting the context-specificity of human–nature interactions across different social-ecological contexts. Read the free Plain Language Summary for this article on the Journal blog.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPeople and Nature
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)220-229
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 02.2024

Bibliographical note

We would like to thank the participants of this study who were kind enough to take the time to share their personal stories and perspectives from their journey hiking Mount Kilimanjaro. A special thank you to Prof. Dr. Berta Martín‐López and Dr. Ugo Arbieu for their ongoing support and guidance throughout this project. This project was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) (Kili‐SES SP3 MA 7670/2‐1) and this publication was funded by the DFG within the 'Open Access Publication Funding' programme. Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. People and Nature published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Ecological Society.

    Research areas

  • cultural ecosystem services, mountains, nature's contributions to people (NCP), nature-based tourism, non-material, photovoice, relational values, social-ecological system
  • Sustainability Science