Societal benefits of river restoration – Implications from social media analysis

Nina N. Kaiser, Andrea Ghermandi, Christian K. Feld, Yaron Hershkovitz, Martin Palt, Stefan Stoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The success of river restoration projects regarding its effects on cultural ecosystem services (CES) and contributions to human well-being is not frequently evaluated. Here, we recorded CES and associated values of a restored river site based on social media posts of visitors. We analysed 605 photographs from three social networking sites (Flickr, VKontakte and Instagram) taken at a prominent river restoration site in Israel, at the estuary of the Kishon River. An automated image labelling approach identified seven photo clusters, of which six could be directly related to the restoration site. Of those, three CES clusters were linked to biophysical properties of the environment (instrumental values); two others were linked to human perception of the environment (relational values); one cluster addressed both characteristics, thus showing the mutual relationships of CES-based values. The method was able to reveal previously unrecognised values of river restoration, but also overlooked CES that are known to take place at the site. Our approach can be useful in informing future river restoration projects and freshwater resource management programs, by providing a cost-effective framework for the assessment of their success in supporting or promoting CES and thus helping to render such programs more beneficial for human well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101317
JournalEcosystem Services
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Cluster analysis
  • Cultural ecosystem services
  • Image recognition
  • Israel
  • Kishon River
  • Relational values

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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