Photo of the Week: Beyond the Beauty of Nature

With this ‘Photo of the Week’ we are presented with an image taken by Bournemouth University’s Arjan Gosal, Research Technician for a NERC funded project investigating the New Forest. The image is reflective of the importance of the aesthetic appeal of habitats at various levels; be this landscape or single organisms such as plants.

The New Forest, situated on the South Coast of England, is a prime example of a historic natural landscape; from once being a medieval hunting ground and having a ‘commoning system’ that survives to the current day, England’s most recently designated national park has over 34,000 residents and many more visitors each year.

Working on assessing and valuing ‘benefits’ that society gains from ecosystems, Arjan looks at ‘cultural services’; for example, how people use an area for recreation or how aesthetically pleasing they find different habitats. Why is this important? With increasing emphasis of the inclusion of ‘cultural values’ when assessing nature, it is important to have these values at hand so that these vital services are not ignored. Whilst biophysical and economic values are often used in conservation planning by decision makers, cultural ecosystem values are rarely quantified or defined clearly.

For more information about his research, contact Arjan for further details.

This was an entry to BU’s first research photography competition and the entries for the next competition will be open shortly. For more details about the competition, please email

 Arjan Photo