Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Estimating the value of ecosystem services in a mixed-use watershed: A choice experiment approach

• Location and costs are significant explanatory variables of MWTP.
• Annual household income was associated with ecosystem services preferences.
• The average MWTP for ecosystem services was extremely low (<$2/household/year)
• A dissociation between local needs and global issues explains the overall low valuations.
The protection of water, land, and air resources has profound implications for the sustainability of ecosystem services provided to societies that are embedded within economies, global systems, and socio-cultural and political contexts. This study assessed preferences for provisioning, regulating, and supporting ecosystem services, specifically, climate regulation (carbon sequestration), nutrient control (water quality), and agricultural and forest productivity, and the willingness to pay for protection of these ecosystem services by residents in the Suwannee River Basin of Florida, as assessed through a household mail survey and choice experiment. A conditional logit model was used to evaluate preferences and marginal willingness to pay (MWTP) under different scenarios. Survey respondents identified nutrient control (water quality) as the most important service, while agricultural and forestry production was somewhat important, and climate regulation/carbon sequestration was the least important. Respondents expressed the highest level of trust in local government agencies to implement ecosystem service protection programs, and welcomed the implementation of such programs anywhere in the basin, but not close to their home. The average MWTP was extremely low (<$2/household/year) when compared to other studies, and suggests that respondents have many competing interests for their discretionary spending in relation to environmental amenities.
Suwannee River.jpg
Pasicha Chaikaew 1 and 3, Alan W. Hodges 2 and Sabine Grunwald 3 
1. Department of Environmental Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
2. Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
3. Department of Soil and Water Science, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Ecosystem Services via Elsevier Science Direct www.ScienceDirect.com
Volume 23; February, 2017; Pages 228–237
Keywords: Ecosystem services; Choice experiments; Willingness to pay; Preferences

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