Does conservation in Natura 2000 areas promote water quality improvement? Findings from a contingent valuation study on environmental benefits and residents’ preferences

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Virpi Lehtoranta, Pauliina Louhi, Does conservation in Natura 2000 areas promote water quality improvement? Findings from a contingent valuation study on environmental benefits and residents’ preferences, Environmental Science & Policy, Volume 124, 2021, Pages 226-234, ISSN 1462-9011, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2021.06.019. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901121001799)

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Title: Does conservation in Natura 2000 areas promote water quality improvement? Findings from a contingent valuation study on environmental benefits and residents’ preferences
Author: Lehtoranta, Virpi; Louhi, Pauliina
Publisher: Elsevier Science
Date: 2021
Language: en
Belongs to series: Environmental Science & Policy 124, 226-234
ISSN: 1462-9011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/332672
Abstract: Non-market values pose a challenge in decision making. In a contribution to the issue, the study assesses the potential positive impact on residents’ wellbeing of improving the ecological status of water bodies making up the Saarijärvi watercourse in Central Finland, a region with numerous Natura areas. The benefits provided by the aquatic environment and the factors affecting them were assessed using the contingent valuation method (CVM). A split-sample design made it possible to analyse expressed uncertainty with two payment vehicles: in one, the question of uncertainty was included in the willingness-to-pay (WTP) questions (multiple bounded discrete choice, MBDC); in the other, it was queried separately after the payment card (PC) question. Where respondents saw added value in Natura 2000 sites and received new information on water management, they experienced increased wellbeing from improved water quality. Perceived importance of sustainable hydropower and water regulation also figured in a desire to improve the ecological status of waters in the region. The results show that there is a noticeable positive WTP among residents (N = 473) for improved water status and that estimated WTP differs according to uncertainty: mean WTP every year per individual fell in the range EUR 29.70 to EUR 75.50. Improvement of water status and protection of Natura 2000 sites were found to be mutually reinforcing goals. Higher net social benefits could be realized if implementation of the applicable directives were more closely coupled to regional planning.
Description: Highlights • Stated preferences and their uncertainty for good ecological status was elicited. • Elicitation methods provided different incentives in stating the welfare measure. • Importance of streams for diversity and improved fish stocks were emphasized. • Importance of Natura 2000 sites and new knowledge increased wellbeing. • Aquatic biodiversity should be better integrated into regional water management.
Subject: contingent valuation
Natura 2000 network
European water framework directive
aquatic biodiversity
conservation
preference uncertainty
water quality
improvement
environmental benefits
resident preferences
case study
Central Finland
ecological status
surface water
Saarijärvi
waters (areas)
networks
nature conservation
water systems
biodiversity
uncertainty
Subject (ysa): tapaustutkimus
Keski-Suomi
ekologinen tila
pintavesi
vesipolitiikan puitedirektiivi
Natura 2000
Saarijärvi
vesialueet
verkostot
luonnonsuojelu
vesistöt
biodiversiteetti
epävarmuus


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