Unraveling local preferences and willingness to pay for different management scenarios: a choice experiment to Biosphere Reserve management.
Economic valuation of ecosystem services has emerged as a valuable tool to promote conservation and sustainable land management. Our study adds to this literature, by reporting the results of a discrete choice experiment used to analyse local population preferences and willingness-to-pay for selected ecosystem services resulting from different management scenarios in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve (Biscay, Spain). The ecosystem services considered include quality of water bodies, agricultural production, native forest protection, biodiversity, and recreation. The results indicate that the local population is willing to financially support a new management plan focused on the improvement of ecosystem health and landscape multifunctionality and sustainability, with recreation being the least valued ecosystem service. These findings may be used to inform conservation and management policies to maximize social well-being. They can also help to prioritize investments and allocation of funding and hence minimise land use conflicts.