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Heterogeneity in Ecosystem Service Values: Linking Public Perceptions and Environmental Policies

Yuan Pan (), Yue Che (), Stuart Marshall () and Lorraine Maltby ()
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Yuan Pan: Department of Animal & Plant Sciences, The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
Yue Che: School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
Stuart Marshall: Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre, Unilever Colworth, Sharnbrook, Bedford MK44 1ET, UK
Lorraine Maltby: Department of Animal & Plant Sciences, The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 3, 1-14

Abstract: One way of linking research and environmental policies is to increase public participation and identify ecosystem services valued by society, but the reasons influencing ecosystem values can vary. Our study investigates the reasons influencing ecosystem service values at the third largest freshwater lake in China, Lake Tai (Taihu). We interviewed 257 rural and 257 urban respondents in four cities and their respective rural regions surrounding the lake. Respondents were more willing to pay to protect a provisioning ecosystem service than a cultural ecosystem service, and those emotionally attached to the lake may value it more highly. There is also spatial heterogeneity in respondents’ ecosystem values. Rural communities ranked directly used ecosystem services higher than urban communities. The city that respondents lived in also significantly affected the amount they were willing to pay for ecosystem services. Identifying potential reasons behind ecosystem service values can provide insights into linking public perception and policy making, helping to form environmental policies that reflect societal values.

Keywords: China; community interviews; contingent valuation; ecosystem services; ecosystem valuation; Lake Tai; Taihu; public perception; willingness to pay (WTP) (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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