Providing preference-based support for forest ecosystem service management
The paper examines people's preferences for changes in selected ecosystem services resulting from new management strategies of forest areas in Poland. This study applies a generalized multinomial logit model to interpret the results of a discrete choice experiment administered to a representative sample of 1001 Poles. The questionnaire included three physical attributes: protecting the most ecologically valuable forest ecosystems, reducing litter in forests, and improving recreation infrastructure. The selection of these attributes was motivated by extensive qualitative research regarding to what indicators of biodiversity, nature protection and recreation possibilities people are most sensitive. The fourth attribute was monetary, that is, additional costs associated with the new programs that would have to be financed out of increased taxes. The results allowed for an estimation of implicit prices regarding the choice attributes and calculating welfare measures of specific forest management scenarios. The study revealed interesting connections between respondents' current forest recreation patterns and the importance they place on the various attributes of forests. The paper particularly focuses on respondents' unobserved and observed preference heterogeneity, as well as scale heterogeneity, and the study demonstrates how heterogeneity can improve the models and provide insight into how users and non-users of forests may benefit from introducing a particular policy.
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