Environmental Management

, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 550–563 | Cite as

Valuing the Recreational Benefits of Wetland Adaptation to Climate Change: A Trade-off Between Species’ Abundance and Diversity

  • Michela FaccioliEmail author
  • Antoni Riera Font
  • Catalina M. Torres Figuerola


Climate change will further exacerbate wetland deterioration, especially in the Mediterranean region. On the one side, it will accelerate the decline in the populations and species of plants and animals, this resulting in an impoverishment of biological abundance. On the other one, it will also promote biotic homogenization, resulting in a loss of species’ diversity. In this context, different climate change adaptation policies can be designed: those oriented to recovering species’ abundance and those aimed at restoring species’ diversity. Based on the awareness that knowledge about visitors’ preferences is crucial to better inform policy makers and secure wetlands’ public use and conservation, this paper assesses the recreational benefits of different adaptation options through a choice experiment study carried out in S’Albufera wetland (Mallorca). Results show that visitors display positive preferences for an increase in both species’ abundance and diversity, although they assign a higher value to the latter, thus suggesting a higher social acceptability of policies pursuing wetlands’ differentiation. This finding acquires special relevance not only for adaptation management in wetlands but also for tourism planning, as most visitors to S’Albufera are tourists. Thus, given the growing competition to attract visitors and the increasing demand for high environmental quality and unique experiences, promoting wetlands’ differentiation could be a good strategy to gain competitive advantage over other wetland areas and tourism destinations.


Climate change Wetland adaptation Species’ diversity Species’ abundance Recreational benefits Choice experiment 



This research work has been conducted under the Training Program for University Professors of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sport (AP2010-3810). The authors are also grateful for the funds awarded by the Government of the Balearic Islands through the Special Action Program (AAEE025/2012), the financial support from the CICYT Program of the Spanish Government (ECO2010-22143), and the grant from the 2013 CRF/RSE European Visiting Research Fellowships Program of the Caledonian Research Foundation. None of these funding sources intervened in or had any effect on the undertaking of this research work. We would like to thank three anonymous referees for their valuable comments, suggestions, and fruitful discussions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michela Faccioli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Antoni Riera Font
    • 1
  • Catalina M. Torres Figuerola
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Applied Economics at the University of the Balearic IslandsPalma de MallorcaSpain

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