A cultural ecosystem service perspective on the interactions between humans and soils in gardens.
Gardens are culturally shaped environments in which natural processes can be experienced. Thus, they offer insights into the relation people have with these processes and the biophysical domain. This includes soils and plants, as these are the natural materials gardeners work with regularly. A cultural ecosystem service (CES) perspective might help to understand interactions between the gardeners and the environment, for example, soils. This could provide insights for scientists, public stakeholders and non-governmental organizations to raise awareness for ecosystem services (ES) of soils. Understanding how gardens are created and used, requires studies from the natural sciences but also from the humanities and social sciences. The natural sciences provide insights into soil properties, biodiversity, plant requirements and the water cycle, while the humanities and social sciences are needed to understand identity formation, social and cultural practices, belief systems and psychological aspects connected to gardening. Inter- and transdisciplinary research can then inform scientists, gardeners, policy makers and educators as well as the general public about CES. This can be used to develop educational programs and measures to protect these valuable CES as well as the general ES of gardens and soils.