Understanding relational values in cultural landscapes in Romania and Germany.

Published online
28 Oct 2021
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
People and Nature

Riechers, M. & Balázsi, Á. & Engler, J. O. & Shumi, G. & Fischer, J.
Contact email(s)

Publication language
Romania & Germany & Saxony


Relational values recently emerged as a concept to comprehensively understand and communicate the many values of nature. Relational values can be defined as preferences and principles about human-nature relationships and focus both on human-nature connections and well as human-human connections. Here, drawing on 819 face-to-face questionnaires, we analysed relational, intrinsic and instrumental values across a total of six agricultural landscapes in Transylvania (Romania) and Lower Saxony (Germany). The landscapes described a gradient of land use intensity, within and across the countries. Our results suggest a bundling of values into four groups: those concerned with individual cognition (including intrinsic values), those that focus on nature as a place for social interaction and relaxation, those that capture cultural identity and spiritual values and one bundle that only includes instrumental values. These different values, in turn, were strongly related to (a) respondents' attitudes towards environmental conservation and the (b) frequency with which respondents used nature as a resource. Instrumental values have the tendency to be inversely related to relational values and were found to increase with the land use intensity of the focal landscapes.

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