Heinkel, Sophie-Bo: Therapeutic effects of wetlands on mental well-being : The concept of therapeutic landscapes applied to an ecosystem in Uganda. - Bonn, 2018. - Dissertation, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.
Online-Ausgabe in bonndoc: https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:hbz:5n-51188
urn: https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:hbz:5n-51188,
author = {{Sophie-Bo Heinkel}},
title = {Therapeutic effects of wetlands on mental well-being : The concept of therapeutic landscapes applied to an ecosystem in Uganda},
school = {Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn},
year = 2018,
month = jul,

note = {The therapeutic effects of wetlands help to keep people mentally healthy. Especially in developing countries, health care prioritizes the treatment and prevention of physical illness before mental illness due to the high burden of physical and often fatal diseases. Wetlands are landscapes with important functions for the water cycle and the global climate by serving as water storages and CO2 sinks. Thus, the conservation of wetlands fulfils at least two functions: On the one hand, it contributes to the global climate regulation, on the other hand, it helps to prevent mental illness.
The mental representation of places plays a role in short-term, mid-term and long-term actions. The research on this, however, requires an interdisciplinary approach since it combines medical, psychological and geographical complex of themes in analysing landscapes. The sensory perception of the body performs the window between human beings and nature. Landscapes contain places, which are evaluated cognitively and emotionally. Those places influence the individual and societal well-being.
In this study, the impact of wetlands on mental well-being was assessed by the approach of therapeutic landscapes. This concept regards landscapes from a natural, structuralistic and humanistic view. It broadens the environmentalist perspective on landscapes by a humanistic one and aims to assess holistically the therapeutical effects of a landscape. The social-ecological perspective of medical geography forms the scientific background of this concept. The focus is on social and societal constructions of landscapes in order to assess positive impacts on mental well-being.
A wetland in Uganda was investigated by its symbolic and social space as well as by its activity and experienced space. A qualitative study contained seven in-depth interviews with different stakeholders. The historical development of the wetland was assessed. Another six group interviews with 48 participants in total were conducted by applying PRA-methods. The results underpinned the results of a quantitative study of different psychometric scales assessing the functional and emotional bonding to the wetland, life satisfaction, emotional well-being, stress perception and self-esteem of the wetland's residents (n=235).
The study shows that the residents strongly identify with the wetland due to the provision of livelihood by the wetland. Additionally, the recreational value and the cultural heritage of this ecosystem play a role. Place identity develops with personal biography and also with the societal and social biography of the wetland. The biological diversity and the constant provision of resources result in an ecological identification and secondly in an ecological pride of the residents on the wetland. Those feelings, however, decrease with the increasing degradation of the ecosystem.
The change of symbolic meanings of the wetland mirrors the historical development of the country. The sense of place of Uganda's wetlands went through certain opposite states from wastelands via the land of fortune to sadlands. Environmental changes of wetlands and the development of the country stay in a close dialectical relationship.
The social fabric in wetlands is highly complex since these landscapes provide many resources in which various stakeholders claim their interest. The hierarchical structure of the social space and the distribution of resources contain high conflict potentials, which may negatively impact perception of the landscape. The social space of wetlands is decisive for mental well-being.
The sense of place can be influenced by governmental incentives. This provides an opportunity to highlight wetlands as areas worth of protection. Nevertheless, in terms of a sustainable environmental protection, farmers only have a restricted scope of action. This task must be delegated to higher governmental and social levels, while the involvement and say of locals must be guaranteed.
Wetlands are landscapes positively impacting on mental well-being due to their regulatory and provisional functions as well as due to their aesthetic and cultural values. The study shows, however, that health-promoting effects of wetlands are linked to certain conditions in the symbolic, social, action and experienced space.},

url = {https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11811/7588}

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