Estimating the willingness to pay for regulating and cultural ecosystem services from forested Siwalik landscapes: perspectives of disaggregated users

Key message
We assessed forest users’ willingness to pay (WTP) for regulating and cultural forest services based on their socio-economic status (rich vs. poor), proximity to forests (nearby vs. distant), and forest management modalities (community forestry vs. collaborative forest management). As expected, a huge variation was found in WTP among these sub-groups. The wealthier households (HH) preferred ‘cash’ whereas poor HHs preferred ‘labour’ as a payment option.

Abstract
Context Forest’s ecosystem services (FES) research have largely concentrated on aggregated economic valuation, while minimal consideration has been paid to distributional issues of willingness to pay (WTP) of many regulating and cultural services such as water quality improvement (WQI), flood control (FC), and bequest and aesthetic values.
Aims We assessed WTP of high-priority FES to the various sub-groups (nearby/distant, rich/poor and community/collaborative forest users) and explored the preferred payment options among the sub-groups in the Siwalik landscape of Nepal.
Methods We carried out contingent valuation survey of 253 households (ranging from 31 to 33 households from each of the sub-groups). We performed the generalised linear mixed model (GLMM) to analyse the data in RStudio.
Results Spatial distance and wealth levels of the respondents play a crucial role in WTP of FES. GLMM analysis indicated that WTP of non-marketed FES differed in terms of cash and labour format. Generally, the WTP is higher in wealthier sub-groups as a cash option. WTP in-terms of labour is a better option for poor HH.
Conclusion Disaggregated WTP should be considered while designing future forest management interventions.

Keywords
Valuation; Economic contribution; Flood control; Water quality improvement; Bequest value; Aesthetic value

Publication
Acharya, R.P., Maraseni, T.N. & Cockfield, G. Estimating the willingness to pay for regulating and cultural ecosystem services from forested Siwalik landscapes: perspectives of disaggregated users. Annals of Forest Science 78, 51 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13595-021-01046-3

For the read-only version of the full text:
https://rdcu.be/cmyUR

Data availability
The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Handling Editor
Rasoul Yousefpour

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