Linking natural capital, benefits and beneficiaries: The role of participatory mapping and logic chains for community engagement.

D. Burdon, T. Potts, S. Barnard, S.J. Boyes, A. Lannin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


There has been increasing attention within environmental science, policy and management on the application of natural capital approaches. Despite this, there is an evidence gap in terms of our current understanding of how natural capital and societal benefits are identified at the local scale. This paper presents a novel stakeholder-driven approach to participatory mapping which enables engagement of communities in natural capital discussions across a series of face-to-face workshops. A real-world application is presented for the Deben Estuary, Suffolk (UK); however, the methodological framework could be applied to any global ecosystem (terrestrial, freshwater, estuarine, marine, urban) and community setting. All outputs developed and produced by the Deben Estuary stakeholders, who represent 26 different organisations, were used in subsequent workshops to support scenarios assessments and logic chain developments. The development of logic chains allow for the relationships between natural capital, benefits and beneficiaries to be viewed through multiple lenses, recognising the importance of natural capital in delivering societal benefits and the reliance of beneficiaries on those benefits and the natural capital which underpins them. From a management perspective, the results of this study help to identify which benefits, and therefore which beneficiaries, may be impacted by an intervention, and what direction that impact may take.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-99
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Science & Policy
Early online date27 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

The authors wish to thank the Marine Management Organisation’s Marine Pioneer Programme and Suffolk County Council for funding the project. The authors also wish to thank Pete Cosgrove (Suffolk Marine Pioneer Project Officer) and Dee McLeavy (Suffolk Marine Pioneer Assistant) for their assistance in organising the workshops. The authors acknowledge the contributions of Dr Shona Thomson (IECS, University of Hull) and Dr Rodney Forster (IECS, University of Hull) who produced the satellite images for use during the workshops. The authors are extremely grateful to the stakeholders of the Deben Estuary for the enthusiastic participation in the workshops and their important feedback which helped design and shape the project. The authors would like to thank the 23 UK senior marine policy-makers and marine planners who provided valuable feedback on the participatory mapping approach. Finally, the authors wish to thank two anonlymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions which strengthened the paper.


  • Natural capital
  • Benefits
  • Beneficiaries
  • Participatory mapping
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Logic chains


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