Heterogeneous Preferences for Urban Forest Attributes: A Latent Class Approach

The increasing pace of urbanization worldwide makes urban forests key providers of a wide range of ecosystem services that contribute to human well-being in multiple ways. The United Nations estimates that 54 percent of the world’s population already lives in urban areas, and by 2050 two-thirds of the globe’s people will be living in cities. Forests in the urban and peri-urban landscape provide many services that directly and indirectly benefit human beings, such as carbon sequestration, air quality improvements through particulate deposition, wildlife habitat, and aesthetic benefits that improve land and home values as well as human health outcomes, among many others. The importance and contribution of urban forests to human well-being will only increase as societies worldwide become more urbanized. In this study, we use data from a discrete choice experiment implemented through an online survey of 724 Florida residents, to estimate a series of latent class models of preferences for urban forest attributes. Our results reveal multiple preference groups, each with different willingness-to-pay values for the four forest attributes evaluated: type of trees (native vs. exotic), number of trees (many vs. few), size of trees (fully grown vs. mix of ages), and maintenance costs. Thus, our study estimates the public’s willingness-to-pay for different attributes of urban forests and provides further evidence of the ubiquity of heterogenous preferences for non-market goods and services.

Issue Date:
Jan 17 2018
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
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 Record created 2018-01-18, last modified 2020-10-28

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