The growing field of research into cultural ecosystem services (CES) explores nonmaterial benefits that people receive from ecosystems. These studies have, however, largely overlooked refugee communities. To reduce this gap, we systematically review academic literature on refugee interactions with ecosystems to understand what cultural ecosystem services refugees may experience, and how these services affect their well-being. The results identify a broad range of CES that refugees experience, even though studies do not use CES terminology. Benefits include social relations, mental health, cultural heritage, education, recreation, identity, sense of place, aesthetic, spirituality, perspective, and existence value. Results also show that the majority of studies of refugee—ecosystem interactions occur in agricultural ecosystems. Findings suggest that interactions with ecosystems may ease the resettlement process and overall well-being, including mental health, in many ways. These findings enrich understanding of CES experienced by people of diverse (and in this case traumatic) backgrounds and provide practical implications for those who work in the field of refugee resettlement.
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Gladkikh, T.M., Gould, R.K., Coleman, K.J., 2019. Cultural ecosystem services and the well-being of refugee communities. Ecosystem Services 40, 101036. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2019.101036
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