Environmental Management

, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 346–359 | Cite as

Impact of Perceived Importance of Ecosystem Services and Stated Financial Constraints on Willingness to Pay for Riparian Meadow Restoration in Flanders (Belgium)

  • Wendy Y. ChenEmail author
  • Joris Aertsens
  • Inge Liekens
  • Steven Broekx
  • Leo De Nocker


The strategic importance of ecosystem service valuation as an operational basis for policy decisions on natural restoration has been increasingly recognized in order to align the provision of ecosystem services with the expectation of human society. The contingent valuation method (CVM) is widely used to quantify various ecosystem services. However, two areas of concern arise: (1) whether people value specific functional ecosystem services and overlook some intrinsic aspects of natural restoration, and (2) whether people understand the temporal dimension of ecosystem services and payment schedules given in the contingent scenarios. Using a peri-urban riparian meadow restoration project in Flanders, Belgium as a case, we explored the impacts of residents’ perceived importance of various ecosystem services and stated financial constraints on their willingness-to-pay for the proposed restoration project employing the CVM. The results indicated that people tended to value all the benefits of riparian ecosystem restoration concurrently, although they accorded different importances to each individual category of ecosystem services. A longer payment scheme can help the respondents to think more about the flow of ecosystem services into future generations. A weak temporal embedding effect can be detected, which might be attributed to respondents’ concern about current financial constraints, rather than financial bindings associated with their income and perceived future financial constraints. This demonstrates the multidimensionality of respondents’ financial concerns in CV. This study sheds light on refining future CV studies, especially with regard to public expectation of ecosystem services and the temporal dimension of ecosystem services and payment schedules.


Perceived importance of ecosystem services Stated financial constraints Riparian meadow restoration Contingent valuation method Temporal embedding Flanders 



The authors are very grateful for the grant provided by the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO) and the General Research Fund from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. We would also like to express special thanks to Dr. Danny T. Wang (Department of Marketing, Hong Kong Baptist University) for providing kind assistance with econometric computation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendy Y. Chen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joris Aertsens
    • 2
  • Inge Liekens
    • 2
  • Steven Broekx
    • 2
  • Leo De Nocker
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeographyThe University of Hong KongPokfulamHong Kong
  2. 2.Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO)MolBelgium

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