Sustainability Science

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 119–129 | Cite as

The seasonal and scale-dependent associations between vegetation quality and hiking activities as a recreation service

  • Masahiro AibaEmail author
  • Rei Shibata
  • Michio Oguro
  • Tohru Nakashizuka
Special Feature: Original Article Future Scenarios for Socio-Ecological Production Landscape and Seascape
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Special Feature: Future Scenarios for Socio-Ecological Production Landscape and Seascape


Understanding how the ecological properties of a landscape yield ecosystem services is essential for sustainable management and sound decision-making. For cultural ecosystem services, however, it is not always clear whether the ecological attributes of a landscape are responsible for heterogeneity in service provisioning. In addition, seasonal and scale-dependent changes in effects of landscape attributes have rarely been examined. To answer these questions, we analyzed associations between various landscape attributes and a proxy of a cultural ecosystem service, that is, monthly number of hiking records for 1953 mountains in Japan crowdsourced from a social networking service for hikers. Landscape attributes were summarized at five spatial scales from a 5- to a 100-km radius from a summit. The effect of primary vegetation on frequency of hiking activity was positive at a spatial scale of 5 km in many months and was especially important in early summer and autumn, whereas the effects of total vegetation cover were generally not important. The positive effect of mountain height was dominant in summer, whereas the positive effects of population density at 50 and 100 km were dominant in winter. The height of a summit relative to the highest point in the surrounding area was important at the intermediate (10 and 20 km) scales. As a whole, seasonal and scale-dependent changes in the relationships between most of the landscape attributes and number of hiking records were apparent. Such changes should be carefully considered in future studies on cultural ecosystem services.


Biodiversity Cultural ecosystem service Ecosystem service Recreation service Social media 



Two anonymous referees provided helpful comments on a previous version of this manuscript. This research was supported by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (Predicting and Assessing Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services [PANCES], S-15-2(1) for MA, RS, TN and S-15-2(2) for MO) of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan.

Supplementary material

11625_2018_609_MOESM1_ESM.docx (6.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 6517 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Plant Ecology, Graduate School of Life SciencesTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan
  2. 2.Research Institute for Humanity and NatureKyotoJapan
  3. 3.Forestry and Forest Products Research InstituteTsukubaJapan

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