Public and Private Preferences for Urban Forest Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem services are important for Floridians as they are directly related to water quality, clean air, property values and overall quality of life. A few studies have valued the economic benefits of these services from forests and Floridian’s willingness to pay for ornamental attributes and control of invasives. This study collected survey data from 1,052 Florida homeowners to elicit consumer preferences for key urban forest attributes and their ecosystem services and disservices. We use existing plot field data, conjoint analysis, best-worst scaling surveys, and econometric modeling to identify attributes and tradeoffs between urban forest structure and ecosystem service/disservice. The integration of these approaches is novel and can better assess the value of ecosystem services of Florida’s urban forests. This method can also be used to identify the preferences of public policy-makers and private homeowners. From the attributes considered in this study, our findings indicate that Property Value has the highest impact on urban forest preferences, followed by Tree Condition and Tree Shade. To increase participation in efforts that generate urban forest ecosystem services, at the public or private level, policymakers may need to design programs that cost less than $7.00 per month, while maintaining good condition trees that provide high shade.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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