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Social demand for multiple benefits provided by Aleppo pine forest management in Catalonia, Spain

Abstract

This paper estimates the social demand for key benefits provided by Aleppo pine forests in Catalonia that can be enhanced by management. These so-called externalities are the side effects of forest management on citizens’ welfare and can be either positive or negative. The externalities addressed are: biodiversity (measured as the number of tree species), accessibility for practicing recreational activities, CO2 sequestration and annual burned area by wildfires. By the use of a choice experiment, an economic valuation method, we estimate in a joint manner people’s preferences for these externalities and show that there is a social demand for their enhanced provision. Based on these estimates, we construct three hypothetical scenarios reflecting the range of likely outcomes of different management strategies and calculate the social demand for these scenarios. Results show that the highest gains in terms of social benefits are obtained under a scenario that minimizes the burned area (2044.23 €/ha year). Our estimates show that an increase in the investment in forest management is in line with the social demand for forest benefits and the social support that exists for a related cost increase for inhabitants.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In 18 % of the cases where the highest bid was present, it was chosen, indicating reasonable closing of the demand.

  2. 2.

    The valuation questionnaire is attached as supplementary material.

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Acknowledgments

The research leading to these results has received funding from European community’s Seventh Framework Programme under Grant Agreement No. 243950 (NEWFOREX Project). Authors would like to thank Pablo Navascués at Diputació de Barcelona and J.L. Abián at Centre de la Propietat Forestal for their reflections and information provided about Aleppo pine stands, forest management and fire prevention in Barcelona and Catalonia, respectively. Any error or omission lay entirely on the authors. Jette Bredahl Jacobsen would further like to acknowledge the Danish Council for Independent Research, Social Science for financial support (Grant No. 75-07-0240) and the Danish National Research Foundation for support to the Centre for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate. Authors also thank to two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions that helped in improving the quality of the manuscript. Finally, authors also thank Stuart J. Franklin for reviewing the English language.

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Correspondence to Elsa Varela.

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Editor: Wolfgang Cramer.

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Varela, E., Jacobsen, J.B. & Mavsar, R. Social demand for multiple benefits provided by Aleppo pine forest management in Catalonia, Spain. Reg Environ Change 17, 539–550 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-016-1038-8

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Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Fire risk
  • Recreation
  • Economic valuation
  • Choice experiment