Human utility of marine ecosystem services and behavioural intentions for marine conservation in Japan
This study explores the utility of marine ecosystem services to Japanese residents and how this influences their behavioural intentions for marine conservation. In exploring this, the indispensability of marine ecosystem services is used as a key concept. Building on a presumption that the higher the perceived indispensability, the greater the utility, a hypothesis has been developed that the greater the indispensability, the greater its influence on enhancing behavioural intentions for marine conservation. This study tests a structural equation model correlating perceived indispensability and behavioural intentions based on responses to questionnaires from 814 residents in Japan. It clarifies that “Essential Benefits” has the highest level of perceived indispensability, but a lower influence than “Cultural Benefits” on behavioural intentions for marine conservation. “Indirect Benefits” has the second highest level of perceived indispensability but does not have a significant causal relationship with behavioural intentions, and “Cultural Benefits” has the lowest level of perceived indispensability but the highest influence on behavioural intentions. These results imply that in order to increase support from the general public for marine conservation in Japan, it would be more effective to stress measures that enhance cultural benefits of marine ecosystem services than measures stressing their indispensability. Development of more appropriate policies will require further examination of the general public's perceptions of indispensability and their influence on behavioural intentions for marine conservation and how these perception–intention relationships are affected by their respective cultural and geographical settings.
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