Reconciling nature conservation and cultural ecosystem services (CES) has become fundamental to manage mountain protected areas. The timely monitoring of CES opportunities at large scales is therefore a pressing need. We combined social media data and Earth observations (EO) into a multi model inference framework to assess CES opportunities in two contrasting mountain Biosphere Reserves in Southern Europe: Peneda-Gerês (Portugal) and Sierra Nevada (Spain). EO indicators expressing people’s accessibility to leisure elements and landscape visual-sensory characteristics appear to be effective candidates for the monitoring of attributes underlying CES. Our findings recognise EO as complementary tools to socio-cultural approaches for the evaluation of CES, aiding stakeholders in their management decisions focused on the resilience and sustainability of mountain protected areas.
Keywords: Cultural ecosystem services, Protected areas, Recreation and tourism, Satellite remote sensing, Social media