Estimation of cultural services and non-use ...
The overwhelming majority of small rivers in the rural landscapes of lowland Europe have been transformed to some extent. Due to the straight shape, some people do not recognise them as rivers anymore but instead regard them as drainage canals and ditches. Thus, there are about 100 thousand km of such rivers in Poland only. Besides the very matter of aesthetics, such characteristics of small rivers as degree of their tortuosity and type ofriverine vegetation are known to affect important ecosystem services, e.g. water quality for people’sdomestic and recreational use, supporting wildlife refuge and migration corridors for biota, or nutrients cycling. Some of those ecosystem services are potentially noticeable on the local and regional levels, whereas the others apply on the national and international levels, like the water quality in the Baltic and North Seas being dependent on the nutrient cycling in their basins. Therefore, restoring natural features of small rivers like their meandering and adjacent wetland buffer zones is often contemplated by natural scientists as a tool for improved provision of various ecosystem services. However, the question whether those recommendations are consistent with people’s preferences and supported by people’s Willingness-To-Pay (WTP) is far from trivial and requires empirical testing.With this purpose we conducted a Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE) aimed at learning preferences of representative samplesof the Polish, German and Danish adult citizens residing in lowland parts of their countries towards the principle characteristics of the small rivers. With this purpose, the questionnaire has been designed, explaining the basic facts and regularities of small-rivers management and their likely outcomes for certain ecosystem services both locally and nationally, followed by the DCE valuation exercise itself. The respondents were asked to choose between the status quo option or either of two programme alternatives, decomposed into the attributes of both global importance (degree of eutrophication of the Baltic or North Sea, and overall water purity of the country’s small rivers) and local importance (riverbed shape and riverine vegetation type of the small river being the closest to the respondent’s place of residence), plus programme costs. The questionnaire was administered to (1) representative national samples of Poland, Germany and Denmark lowland parts’ adult population, and (2) additional subsamples of adult rural population residing in the case-catchments of the rivers Narew in Poland, Ryck in Germany, and Odense in Denmark. The data subsequently underwent econometric analysis following the Random Utility Modelling (RUM) methodology, which allowed usto estimate people’s WTP for small rivers management and provided some insights into how people shapetheir preferences towards the small rivers’ appearance and related ecosystem services.
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|Data last updated||July 21, 2019|
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|Created||12 months ago|
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