This paper presents cognitive awareness levels of ecosystem services and their consumption by farmers in Guyuan City, which lies in the Jinghe watershed. Household Surveys and Participatory Rural Assessment (PRA) were used to determine differences in farmers cognitive awareness levels. The household survey results showed that farmers have a cognitive awareness of 11 ecosystem services: food supply, air purification, environmental purification, soil and water conservation, clean water supply, natural disaster minimization, increasing income, fuel wood supply, aesthetic recreation, fodder supply and sand stabilization. The job-related requirements of a farmers' daily life, their direct consumption of ecosystem services and the importance of ecosystem services to them all influence their cognitive awareness of ecosystem services. Through group interviews the PRA method can provide the opportunity for information exchange and discussion. The process can help farmers to gain more cognitive awareness of ecosystem services. Large changes in ecosystem services have been observed in the study area. Food production and fuel wood supply have decreased markedly, yet incomes have increased. Spatial and temporal variables, changes in ecosystem services and the level of income all have an impact on farmers' food supply and resource consumption. Overall, the total consumption of food (cereal and potato) and fuel wood declines for most farmers and consumption of vegetables, meat, coals and gas have increased.
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