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Attitudes and Preferences towards Soil-Based Ecosystem Services: How Do They Vary across Space?

Luisa Fernanda Eusse-Villa, Cristiano Franceschinis, Mara Thiene, Jürgen Meyerhoff, Alex McBratney and Damien Field
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Luisa Fernanda Eusse-Villa: Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry (TESAF), University of Padova, 35122 Padova, Italy
Mara Thiene: Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry (TESAF), University of Padova, 35122 Padova, Italy
Alex McBratney: School of Life and Environmental Science & Sydney Institute of Agriculture, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
Damien Field: School of Life and Environmental Science & Sydney Institute of Agriculture, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

Sustainability, 2021, vol. 13, issue 16, 1-19

Abstract: Soil ecosystem services (ES) provide multiple benefits to human well-being, but the failure to appreciate them has led to soil degradation issues across the globe. Despite an increasing interest in the threats to soil resources, economic valuation in this context is limited. Importantly, most of the existing valuation studies do not account for the spatial distribution of benefits that soil ES provide to the population. In this study, we present the results of a choice experiment (CE) aimed at investigating spatial heterogeneity of attitudes and preferences towards soil conservation and soil ES. We explored spatial heterogeneity of both attitudes and welfare measures via GIS techniques. We found that citizens of the Veneto Region (Northeast Italy) generally have positive attitudes towards soil conservation. We also find positive willingness-to-pay (WTP) values for soil ES in most of the study area and a considerable degree of heterogeneity in the spatial taste distribution. Finally, our results suggest that respondents with pro-environmental attitudes display a higher WTP based on the geographic pattern of the distribution of WTP values and attitudinal scores across the area.

Keywords: soil ES; choice experiment; preference heterogeneity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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