Social preferences and willingness-to-pay for forest ecosystem services : implications for payments for ecosystem services schemes
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This research analyzes whether the three distinct value orientations posited under the Value-Belief-Norm (VBN) model determine willingness-to-pay (WTP) for a payment for ecosystem services (PES) program. A survey instrument gathered U.S residents' knowledge, attitudes, and elicited WTP for the restoration of ecosystem services from a hypothetical degraded forested watershed. Data from over 1000 respondents nationwide were analyzed using explorative factor analysis and ordered logistic regression. Urban respondents were found to be more familiar with ecosystem services and PES compared with rural respondents. Results from an explorative factor analysis (EFA) showed a weaker support for the three distinct value orientations (biospheric, altruistic and egoistic) suggested under the general awareness of consequences (GAC) scale. The findings instead supported two distinct value orientations (a dominant orientation of egoistic with traits of altruistic and biospheric values as one factor, and altruistic value orientation with no traits of either biospheric or egoistic as a second factor). Altruistic and biospheric orientations along with ascriptions to personal norms had positive and significant effects on stated WTP. Egoistic orientation were negatively associated with WTP and carried a negative WTP per year ($US -30.48) as compared with biospheric (US$ 15.53) and altruistic ($US 3.96) orientations. Besides personal norms, awareness of detrimental consequences to human wellbeing from environmental degradation seems the stronger driver of WTP for the protection and restoration of watershed-related ecosystem services.
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