Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

Environmental awareness and willingness to pay for biodiversity improvement in Puerto Rico

Environmental awareness and willingness to pay for biodiversity improvement in Puerto Rico Biodiversity is vital for sustainable forest ecosystems. However, community values for forest biodiversity depend on envi- ronmental engagement, education, and awareness. The objectives of this study are to (1) assess households’ willingness to pay (WTP) for native plant and tree nursery in the Rio Hondo Community Forest (RHCF) of Puerto Rico, with the specific goal of supporting biodiversity and (2) examine the influence of environmental awareness on preferences for biodiversity improvement. Using a contingent valuation method, we find that households are willing to contribute $43/year to support biodiversity in the RHCF by planting native plants and trees, and that environmental awareness increases the support for biodiversity projects. The results suggest that outcomes of economic cost-benefit analyses can depend on environmental awareness. Hence, programs that support environmental awareness can improve economic efficiency of environmental protection projects. Keywords Biodiversity · Contingent valuation · Environmental awareness · Puerto Rico · Willingness to pay Introduction long-term provision of ecosystem services and the sustain- ability of resilient forest ecosystems, community support Forest ecosystems offer a range of invaluable benefits that of conservation and biodiversity management is imperative. greatly enhance human well-being, including the aesthetic One effective approach to enhancing regional biodiversity appeal of scenic beauty, the provision of essential ecosystem involves the establishment of nursery programs aimed at services, and the preservation of biodiversity (MEA 2005; cultivating native plants and trees for subsequent planting in Tavárez and Elbakidze 2019). Biodiversity, in particular, the surrounding forests (Lugo 2012; Mori et al. 2017). How- plays a crucial role in maintaining the health and dynamism ever, it is important to acknowledge that this strategy can be of forest ecosystems, while also holding immense intrin- financially demanding, requiring careful economic analysis sic value as a fundamental forest attribute. To ensure the and valuation before its endorsement and implementation. Environmental quality, including biodiversity, is a public good that can be degraded due to the absence of well-defined * Héctor Tavárez property rights (MEA 2005). Non-profit organizations, hector.tavarez2@upr.edu including government agencies, are essential for the provi- Oscar Abelleira sion of public goods. However, economic efficiency neces- oscarj.abelleira@upr.edu sitates that the benefits of such public goods surpass the Levan Elbakidze costs to justify public expenditures. Therefore, a thorough levan.elbakidze@mail.wvu.edu understanding of program costs and benefits is necessary for effective public management of environmental initiatives. Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico While estimating costs for many environmental management programs and policies, particularly those associated with Department of Agro-Environmental Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico labor, materials, land, and equipment, is relatively straight- forward, estimating the value of benefits is challenging due Resource Economics and Management, Davis College of Agriculture Natural Resources and Design, Center to their non-rivalrous and non-excludable nature. for Innovation in Gas Research and Utilization, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA Vol.:(0123456789) 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences One widely used approach to assess the benefits of a policy if environmental engagement and pro-environmental atti- aimed at providing non-market public goods is to estimate the tudes are significant factors for biodiversity preferences in population’s willingness to pay (WTP) for those goods. In a developing country setting. Tavárez and Elbakidze (2021) the realm of environmental quality and biodiversity specifi- demonstrate the significance of environmental involvement cally, community preferences can be influenced by familiarity and literacy for forest preservation preferences in Puerto and involvement in environmental protection efforts (Tavárez Rico. They show that WTP to prevent the conversion of an and Elbakidze 2021). Consequently, the benet fi s derived from urban forest to alternative land use depends on respondents’ enhancing environmental quality and the results of the benefit- environmental disposition. We build on their research by cost analysis can be contingent upon the community’s envi- investigating the willingness of households in Puerto Rico ronmental awareness and attitudes. to pay for native plants and trees from a nursery in a local The significance of environmental attitudes and aware- forest to improve biodiversity. Additionally, we explore the ness for non-market valuation has been demonstrated in prior influence of environmental awareness on the preferences for literature. For example, using the New Ecological Paradigm initiatives focused on enhancing forest biodiversity. scale, Kotchen and Reiling (2000) and Bartzak (2015) find that Biodiversity refers to the richness and variability of survey respondents in the USA and Poland with stronger pro- genetic information and species at all levels of phylogenetic environmental attitudes are more likely to support and are will- (e.g., protozoans, fungi, plants, animals) and ecological (e.g., ing to pay more for endangered species protection and forest community, landscape, region) organization. As defined improvement, respectively. The role of environmental aware- by Redford and Richter (1999), “biodiversity refers to the ness has also been documented in the context of consumer natural variety and variability among living organisms, the preferences for restaurant surcharge in support of carbon emis- ecological complexes in which they naturally occur, and the sion reduction in the USA (Long et al. 2021), farmers’ willing- ways in which they interact with each other and with the ness to participate in ecosystem protection in China (Min et al. physical environment.” Biodiversity plays a crucial role in 2018), and WTP for migratory bird protection in Netherlands shaping the structure and functioning of ecosystems, which (Brouwer et al. 2008). However, there is a lack of studies that in turn influences the sustainability of species and genetic examine the impact of environmental awareness on preferences diversity (Connell 1978; Lavorel et al. 2013). for biodiversity improvement programs in regions outside of One notable example is the coevolution between certain North America and Europe. We fill this gap by addressing this tree species and animals that are attracted to flowers and topic in the context of forest biodiversity improvement in the fruits. These animals serve as pollinators or seed dispersers Rio Hondo Community Forest (RHCF) in Puerto Rico. (Ricklefs 2001; Chazdon and Whitmore 2001). This symbi- Interventions aimed at supporting endemic and native tree otic relationship between plants and animals contributes to species in the forest can serve as an effective tool for educat- an increase in tree diversity at new sites, consequently foster- ing residents and cultivating their appreciation for biodiversity ing a greater diversity of animal species that rely on these and for the RHCF. RHCF visitor trail hikes include experi- trees for food and habitat. Endemic, native, and introduced mental enrichment planting activities featuring species such plant and animal species can also hold significant cultural, as C. rugosa, D. excelsa, L. monosperma, and M. bidentata, culinary, and economic value, further emphasizing the ben- effectively functioning as educational opportunities (Cruz- efits associated with enhancing biodiversity (Hobbs et al. Aguilar 2022). Similarly, enrichment plantings of edible fruit 2013; Lugo et al. 2020). trees like avocado (Persea americana), breadfruit (Artocarpus The significance of biodiversity has been recognized atilis), cacao (Theobroma cacao), coffee (Coffea arabica), by not only natural scientists but also social scientists, jácana (Pouteria multiflora), and jagua (Genipa americana) leading to a steady growth in the literature on the eco- also have demonstrated the benefits of agroforestry practices nomic valuation of biodiversity. Prior literature includes (Abelleira 2019; Túa and Abelleira 2019). studies in developed as well as developing country set- The literature exploring the influence of environmental tings. Jacobsen and Hanley (2009) report the results from awareness and experiences on preferences for biodiver- a meta-analysis of WTP estimates for biodiversity conser- sity in developing countries is scarce . It remains unclear vation using forty-six contingent valuation studies across six continents. They conclude that society’s wealth is a major determinant of WTP for biodiversity conservation. 1 Christie et al. (2006) find that the public in England values Puerto Rico has one of the highest human development indexes most, but not all, aspects of biodiversity. However, there and one of the highest, if not the highest, gross product per capita in Latin America and the Caribbean (see UNDP 2022). In 2012, the seems to be no preference for a pathway to biodiversity human development index in Puerto Rico was 0.865. However, the protection. inequality-adjusted human development index was 0.685, with human In a developing country setting, Do and Bennett (2009) development patterns closer to Romania (0.687) and Croatia (0.683) estimate non-market values of biodiversity protection in a (Fuentes-Ramírez 2014). 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences Mekong River Delta (MRD) wetland ecosystem. Using three that affect the value of biodiversity improvements? Does different subsamples of Vietnamese households, depending environmental awareness affect the value of biodiversity on residence distance from MRD, they document significant improvements and, consequently, economic viability? net social benefits from biodiversity protection and advocate Focusing on the RHCF in western Puerto Rico, we esti- the use of contingent valuation methods in the developing mate households’ WTP for increasing biodiversity using country settings. Biénabe and Hearne (2006) measure WTP native plants and trees cultivated from a local nursery pro- of foreign tourists and Costa Ricans for biodiversity conser- gram and examine the effect of environmental awareness on vation and scenic beauty using payments for environmental WTP. We use a dichotomous choice contingent valuation services. They conclude that both populations are willing method because the focus of the study is on the evaluation of to pay more for biodiversity conservation than for scenic a particular project rather than attribute-specific effects. The beauty. Bhat and Sofi (2021) explore residents’ WTP for instrument is designed to elicit resident willingness to make biodiversity conservation in India using a contingent valua- a financial contribution to biodiversity improvement efforts. tion method and find that residents are willing to pay $3.32/ We focus on native plants and trees as elements of biodiver- year for biodiversity conservation. sity. At this stage, preferences are examined for qualitative Revealed and stated preference-based methods have been rather than quantitative improvements in biodiversity. As widely used to estimate the value of non-market goods and an initial step of biodiversity valuation in Puerto Rico, we services provided by terrestrial ecosystems, including for- explore preferences for biodiversity improvement efforts in ests (Ricketts et al. 2004; Pattanayak and Butry 2005; Bar- principle rather than for particular species and quantities. rio and Loureiro 2010; Johnston et al. 2017; Tavárez and We find that WTP for biodiversity improvement via native Elbakidze 2019; Tavárez et al. 2021). Revealed preference plants and trees is statistically significant. Future research methods rely on the observed data, whereas stated prefer- should examine WTP for particular species and/or quantita- ence methods are based on choices made in hypothetical set- tive increments in improvement. tings (Birol et al. 2006; Johnston et al. 2017). An example of revealed preference methods is hedonic valuation, which is based on the observed real estate transactions. This method Study area assumes that property prices depend on the characteristics of the property, proximity to public areas and services (e.g., This study was conducted in Puerto Rico, where exposure hospitals, schools, and parks), and environmental amenities. to hurricanes can lead to short-term biodiversity loss if con- The tangible benefits of forests like recreation, scenic view, servation efforts are weak (Lugo 2008; Báez et al. 2021). and noise reduction are likely to be captured in the property In 2017, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria wreaked prices. However, less tangible benefits like carbon seques- havoc, with the latter causing a staggering $41 billion in tration and habitat for biodiversity may not be captured in economic losses (PR Planning Board 2018). The immedi- housing prices (Geoghegan et al. 2003; Engström and Gren ate focus was on restoring basic necessities like electricity, 2017; Tavárez and Elbakidze 2021). Non-use bequest and water, and roads, often spearheaded by local communities existence values may also not be captured in revealed prefer- (Abelleira 2017; Lugo 2018; Rivera and Abelleira 2022). ence methods (Birol et al. 2006; Johnston et al. 2017). Thus, However, limited understanding of biodiversity’s importance the value of non-market goods and services is likely to be hindered the government’s allocation of financial resources underestimated in revealed preference-based methods. for forest recovery and management programs. In 2022, Stated preference-based methods, including contingent Hurricane Fiona also caused significant harm to commu- valuation and discrete choice experiments, account for non- nities, economies, and forest ecosystems. To enhance the use values and can be applied in situations where real behav- resilience of Puerto Rico’s forests against hurricanes and ior data is unavailable. Both stated preference methods have climate change, it is important to develop conservation pro- been widely used to examine WTP for non-market goods grams that enrich forests with native plants and trees, thus and services, including forest benefits (Barrio and Loureiro increasing biodiversity. 2010; Juutinen et al. 2014; Japelj et al. 2016; Tavárez et al. Puerto Rico, a US territory since 1898, is an archipelago 2021; Tavárez and Elbakidze 2021). The contingent valua- in the Caribbean consisting of a main island and several tion is a convenient method to examine WTP for the com- smaller islands. With a population of 3.2 million (US Census bined characteristics of a project or policy as a whole, while 2021), it is the smallest of the Greater Antilles. The main choice experiments are convenient for evaluating trade-offs island spans 9104 km and has experienced significant forest between project attributes. cover growth since the 1940s, primarily due to agricultural The research questions in this study are as follows: do abandonment. Forest land now accounts for approximately residents value biodiversity improvement in western Puerto 56% of the island’s surface (USDA 2020). The RHCF is 27.5 Rico and if so, how large is the value? What are the factors ha (~68 ac) and is located in the Mayagüez municipality, in 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences Fig. 1 Puerto Rico and RHCF. The map in the upper left corner of Puerto Rico and the location of the Rio Hondo Community Forest shows the location of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. The map at lower (green circle). The map on the right shows the roads that give access left shows the municipality of Mayagüez (in red) on the main island to the forest western Puerto Rico (Fig. 1). This secondary forest naturally 1950; Weaver and Gould 2013; Cruz-Aguilar 2022). These regrew after the decline of agricultural production in the species, which are scarce or endangered in Puerto Rico, 1970s. provide flowers and fruits to pollinators and seed dispers- The RHCF has a remarkable array of plant and animal ers. Many endemic or native forest bird species (e.g., Lox- species (Abelleira 2018; Rivera San-Antonio 2021). It igilla portorricensis and Spindallis portorricencis) have contains at least 31 tree species, with 61% being native or supported natural seed dispersal (Lugo et al. 2012; Abel- endemic to Puerto Rico, and the remaining 39% introduced leira 2018). Enrichment plantings and stand management to the Archipelago. Species like Albizia procera, Senna sia- that favor endemic and native tree species with edible and mea, and Spathodea campanulata dominate certain areas, attractive fruits can increase the diversity of birds and having colonized former sugar cane and grazing lands other animals. approximately 50 years ago. Some of these introduced spe- cies, such as A. procera, are capable of biological nitrogen fixation, enabling their growth on sites unsuitable for other species. Additionally, small seeds or pods facilitate wind Materials and methods dispersal over long distances, aiding colonization of fallow lands (Francis and Lowe 2000). However, native tree spe- Figure 2 outlines the study’s structure. We relied on litera- cies like Cupania americana and Guarea guidonia have also ture and stakeholder input to identify preferences for biodi- become dominant, dispersed through animals, particularly versity enhancement in the RHCF. This information guided birds (Francis and Lowe 2000; Rivera San Antonio 2021). the development of a survey instrument, including the con- The abundance of native and introduced species can tingent valuation and environmental awareness-related ques- be influenced by hurricanes, human intervention, and tions. The questionnaire underwent testing in focus groups individual species responses (Connel 1978; Lugo et al. and subsequent revisions. Using data from the contingent 2020; Báez et al. 2021). Conservation efforts in the forest valuation method, we estimated residents’ willingness to can focus on enrichment plantings of native tree species pay (WTP) for biodiversity improvement by planting native adapted to the local climate, geology, and soil conditions, plants and trees in the RHCF and examined the effect of accompanied by management interventions like stand environmental awareness on WTP. thinning. Enrichment plantings of endemic and native species such as Coccoloba rugosa, Dacryodes excelsa, Ex ante information Libidibia monosperma, and Manilkara bidentata, which historically occupied lowlands before deforestation, can We gathered insights from literature (Rivera-Acosta 2018; enhance the conservation value of the RHCF (Wadsworth Rodríguez-Candelaria et al. 2018; Tavárez and Elbakidze 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences valuation exercise, multiple criticisms have been raised, Ex-ante Interviews of Lieterature including hypothetical bias, embedding, and scope problems information stakeholders review (Hausman 2012). Interviewer bias may be present in face- Contingent Survey and Environmental to-face interviews (Loureiro and Lotade 2005) and quality valuaiton engagement study design of information presented in the survey instrument can affect format outcomes of CV studies (Ajzen et  al. 1996). To address Validation, Survey Focus group credibility and these and other limitations, researchers have developed and revisions price range applied multiple strategies in empirical studies. These strat- egies include cheap-talk scripts, training protocols, identi- Survey Face-to-face Training of distribution interviews interviewers fication of protest responses, and use of various valuation formats for cross-validation (Bateman et al. 2002; Jin et al. Econometric Marginal Logit models 2006; Tavárez et al. 2021). Guiding principles have been models effects developed for better practices in using contingent valuation (Arrow et al. 1993; Johnston et al. 2017). Fig. 2 Structure of the study Contingent valuation is particularly useful in our context to obtain WTP estimates for a project as a whole, rather than evaluating trade-offs between project attributes, which would 2021) and stakeholder interviews, including University of require the use of other methods. We used a single-bounded Puerto Rico (UPR) faculty members, community residents, dichotomous choice contingent method because this format and RHCF board of directors, to identify preferences for mimics transactions in the real marketplace, reduces outliers, land use and economic development programs. Ex ante and is incentive compatible (Bateman et al. 2002; Champ background information indicates residents’ interest in et al. 2003). In this format, respondents receive informa- various outdoor recreational activities, economic growth tion about the nature of the problem, means to solve the initiatives, and research opportunities originating from the problem, implementation mechanism, payment amount, and forest. Environmental conservation programs that promote frequency of payment. The respondent can either support or a sustainable forest for future generations were identified as oppose the proposed project with an associated cost (Bate- important factors. While planting native plants and trees was man et al. 2002). After receiving the instructions and the not explicitly highlighted, increasing biodiversity emerged information about the nursery for native plants and trees that as a priority for residents and stakeholders. This informa- would result in greater biodiversity, the respondents were tion served as the foundation for developing the valuation asked if they would agree to pay the indicated amount to exercise. support the biodiversity improvement project, ranging from $5 to $150/year per household. Only one contingent valua- Survey and study design tion question was presented to each respondent. A cheap-talk script was included to reduce hypothetical bias (Cummings The questionnaire was used to obtain primary data used and Taylor 1999; Carlsson et al. 2005). The translated ver- in the estimation. It included two main sections. Section 1 sion of the contingent valuation question script is as follows: contained the contingent valuation question and follow-up Native plants and trees are important factors for bio- inquiries to gain insights into responses to the valuation diversity. Land cover change and other human actions exercise. Section  2 collected information on respondent have reduced diversity. Even though there are projects sociodemographic characteristics (SDCs), such as age, gen- aimed at conserving native plants and trees in Puerto der, income, education level, and environmental awareness- Rico, more could be done to encourage preservation in related data. For instance, respondents were asked about the long term. The Rio Hondo Community Forest could their involvement in institutions focused on environmental be used as a nursery to germinate and later transplant conservation, their interest in volunteering for forest man- some native plant and tree species in support of flora agement, and their current participation in environmental and fauna diversity in the region. Such a project will management initiatives. Additionally, respondents were require an initial investment and labor costs to maintain given the opportunity to provide comments on the survey the native species. The project will only be carried out and study design, including their experience with the valu- if more than 50% of the residents are willing to pay ation exercise. support it. All households would pay the same amount. The contingent valuation method is sufficiently versatile to be applied in different contexts and, therefore, has been Assume that increasing biodiversity through native extensively used for estimation of WTP for non-market plants and trees from nursery programs in the Rio goods and services. Due to the hypothetical nature of the 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences Hondo Community Forest would cost $ AMOUNT per was distributed to all available households surrounding the year per household. Would you be willing to support RHCF who were willing to participate , particularly to resi- a policy that costs this amount per household per year dents of the Rio Hondo ward. The questionnaire was dis- to increase biodiversity in the Rio Hondo Community tributed to encompass a radius of one mile from the RHCF, Forest? involving a significant portion of the ward’s residents. The data was obtained during different days and times, allowing We used follow-up questions to identify potential pro- for preference heterogeneity across residents with diverse test or otherwise unreliable responses to the valuation exer- working schedules. cise, as suggested in prior stated preference-based literature (Bateman et al. 2002; Tavárez and Elbakidze 2019; Johnston et al. 2017). Particularly, respondents were asked to state Theoretical framework and empirics the reasons for supporting or not supporting the biodiver- sity project. Additionally, we incorporated an open-ended The contingent valuation method is based on random utility contingent valuation question to inquire about the maximum theory, which suggests that the individual utility is random monetary contribution the respondents were willing to make but can be decomposed into observable and unobservable towards the augmentation of biodiversity in the RHCF via components (McFadden 1974). An individual supports the native plants and trees. There are two scenarios for iden- proposed project if the corresponding utility (V) obtained tifying inconsistencies across the dichotomous choice and from the project after paying C is higher than the utility of open-ended contingent valuation formats. First, respondents the status quo with no additional cost (Hanemann 1984). In may agree to pay X amount in the dichotomous choice ques- our context, the respondents support increasing biodiversity tion but state a maximum WTP in the open-ended question through planting native plants and trees if: that is less than X. Second, respondents may refuse to pay 1 0 X amount in the dichotomous question but express a greater V I − C, Q , S > V I − 0, Q , S (1) than X willingness to pay in the open-ended question. Such responses can be used to screen out potentially unreliable where I represents income, S is the SDCs of respondents, 1 0 data. We conduct the analysis with and without these obser- Q represents the proposed project and Q represents the vations for robustness check. status quo. If V (I, C, Q, S) is the observable component of utility, the probability of an individual voting in favor of the Focus groups biodiversity project can be expressed as follows: 1 0 Prob(yes)= Prob V I − C, Q , S + e > V I, Q , S + e 1 0 Two focus group sessions were used to test the question- (2) naire and ensure its clarity, adequacy of length, and appro- where e priateness of selected cost range. Each session lasted 2 h are unobservable components of utility. Assuming and included 8 and 12 participants. The first focus group that e follow a logistic probability distribution, this can be included members of the RHCF board of directors and UPR expressed as follows (Greene 2012): faculty, and the second included residents who live near the v v Prob(yes)= e ∕(e + 1) (3) forest. Best efforts were made to ensure diverse representa- tion in terms of age, gender, and educational to account for Assuming the utility function is linear and additively preference heterogeneity. Overall, participants expressed no separable, the indirect utility function of alternative i can be concerns with the questionnaire’s clarity, length, and cost expressed as follows: range. They emphasized the significance of recreational and V =  + S +  C (4) environmental conservation-related initiatives, aligning with i 0 c stakeholder input and literature findings. Some participants where β is a constant term, β and β are coefficients, S is 0 c expressed interest in specific activities aimed at forest sus- a matrix of respondents’ SDCs, and C is the cost. Median tainability and income generation, such as the commerciali- household WTP is calculated using the estimated coeffi- zation of forest-based goods and services, including food, cients as follows (Hanemann 1989): workshops, and tourism-related ventures. Survey distribution The questionnaire was intended to be distributed to every other The questionnaire was distributed through in-person inter- house to reduce self-selection bias. However, recent crime activities views by three interviewers who were trained to reduce and COVID19 resulted in lack of respondents willing to participate in an in-person interview. potential interviewer and information bias. The questionnaire 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences Table 1 Explanatory variables for the regression models Variables Definition Expected sign Gender Gender of respondent (1 = female, 0 = male) ? Age Age of respondent (21–90 years) − Education Education of respondent (0 = none, 5 = graduate school) + Income Respondent household income per month (1 = less than $500, 7 = $7000 or more) + Access Proximity to the forest entrance (walking distance) (1 = less than 5 min, 4 = more than 25 min) − Active Respondents who are currently active in environmental management initiatives (1 = yes, 0 = no) + Institutions Respondents who have worked or studied in institutions that address environmental conservation (1 = yes, 0 = no) + Volunteering Respondents who are willing to volunteer in forest management programs (1 = yes, 0 = no) + Awareness If respondents are currently active in environmental management initiatives, have studied or worked in institutions + addressing environmental conservation, or are willing to volunteer in forest management programs (1 = yes, 0 = no) According to the economic theory, we expect households + S WTP = (5) with higher incomes are willing to pay more for the bio- diversity project. Based on prior stated preference studies on local forest ecosystems (Tavárez and Elbakidze 2019; where S are the sample means of the SDCs, and β is the Tavárez et al. 2021), we expect a negative effect of age and cost coefficient. a positive effect of education on WTP for the biodiversity We used logit models to analyze contingent valuation data. project. We do not have an ex ante expectation for the effect In this model, the dependent variable is binary and indicates of gender. Residents who live near the forest may be more if the respondent votes in favor of the biodiversity project. willing to support the biodiversity project, as these residents The independent variables are the SDCs of individuals, obtain more benefits from the forest than those living far - such as age, gender, income and education. In addition, we ther away. All environmental awareness-related variables included three variables related to environmental awareness: are expected to have a positive effect on the support for the (1) whether respondents have experience working or studying biodiversity project. in institutions focused on environmental conservation, (2) We are interested in examining the factors that may pre- current involvement in environmental management initia- dict environmental awareness. Understanding such factors tives, and (3) willingness to volunteer in forest management may be useful for guiding the development of targeted strate- programs. These variables were included to capture respond- gies aimed at fostering environmental conservation within ents’ engagement and commitment towards environmental specific segments of the populations. Gaining insights conservation, providing valuable insights into their awareness into these factors can help identify effective approaches to and potential participation in conservation efforts. encourage and promote environmental awareness among We estimate three logit models. The first logit regression various groups. We employed a t-test to examine whether includes all the SCDs and environmental awareness-related younger and/or more educated respondents are more likely variables (model 1). The second model is a result of a back- to be involved in environmental management initiatives. ward stepwise procedure with the reported model that only includes significant variables (model 2). Finally, the third model combines all environmental awareness-related vari- Data ables into a single-binary variable (model 3). In the third model, the binary variable is one if the respondent answered A total of 208 respondents completed the questionnaire yes to either of the three awareness related questions. Con- between July 2022 and December 2022. Thirty-seven resi- trary to the first model that evaluates the effects separately, dents refused to take part in this study, resulting in a par- the third model allows us to evaluate whether any experience ticipation rate of 85%, which is reasonable for face-to-face with environmental conservation programs or intentions to interviews (Bateman et al. 2002). Unfortunately, a spike in volunteer affect preferences for biodiversity improvement. We criminal activities in the region, combined with lingering used the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) and the Bayes- concerns about the COVID19 pandemic, probably discour- ian Information Criterion (BIC) to assess relative model fit. aged participants from engaging in face-to-face interviews. Table 1 shows the variables used in the regression mod- This limited the size of our sample as many households did els, with corresponding definitions and expected signs. 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences Table 2 Socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of respond- ents Variables Mean Min Max Median Gender 0.57 (0.50) 0 1 1 Age 61.13 (14.78) 21 90 64 Education 3.31 (0.78) 2 5 3 Income 3.10 (1.65) 1 7 3 Access 3.20 (0.98) 1 4 4 Active 0.11 (0.31) 0 1 0 Institutions 0.05 (0.22) 0 1 0 Volunteering 0.38 (0.49) 0 1 0 Engagement 0.41 (0.49) 0 1 0 Standard deviation is in parenthesis Fig. 3 Survival function of the distribution of votes across cost amounts not open the door either because they were not home, were concerned about safety, or some other reason. the cost increased, which is consistent with the economic theory and prior contingent valuation studies (Lindhjem and Eighteen respondents provided answers that suggested protest responses. Among these, three expressed concerns Navrud 2011; Parsons and Myers 2016). The probability of paying $150 to support the biodiversity project was 7%. about the allocation of funds, sixteen stated that the gov- ernment should pay for the biodiversity project, and one Poor experimental design may result in outcomes where the probability of supporting a project does not decline at higher participant stated that the forest and its services should not be measured in monetary terms (a few participants stated cost amounts (Kerr 2000), posing doubts on the validity of results. In this regard, it is encouraging that in this study, the more than one protest response). Nineteen respondents, 9% of our sample, provided inconsistent answers across probability of supporting the project declines significantly at higher cost values. contingent valuation formats. However, the regression results and WTP estimates are invariant to exclusion of inconsistent and protest responses. Therefore, we present the results using all observations. The results from the Results and discussion reduced sample are available upon request. Table  2 shows SDCs and environmental awareness- Table 3 shows the results from the three logit models with the corresponding marginal effects. According to the pseudo related variables. Median age of respondent was 64 years, and 57% were female. Average respondent education was R , the models’ fits are comparable to prior contingent valua- tion studies (Kotchen and Reiling 2000; Tavárez and Elbak- a high school degree. Median household income was $1000–$2000/month, equivalent to $12,000–$24,000/year. idze 2021). The AIC and the BIC suggest that model 2, which is the reduced model following the backward stepwise The median age of residents in the Rio Hondo ward is 50.2, which is higher than the population of Mayagüez but procedure, fits the data best. Consistent with Fig.  3, the cost coefficient is negative and statistically significant, indicating lower than our sample. However, it is difficult to compare the median age of our sample with the Rio Hondo ward, that the probability of supporting the biodiversity project decreases as the cost increases. Income coefficient is not as minors are not considered in this study. The percentage of females and the median household income per year in significant. Similar results in terms of insignificant income coefficients have been reported in prior contingent valuation the population of Rio Hondo is 59% and $18,177/year, respectively (US Census 2021). In terms of environmental studies (Casey et al. 2006; Akram and Olmstead 2011). The insignificance of the income coefficient may be the result of awareness, 11% of respondents were currently active in environmental management initiatives, 5% of respondents some respondents misrepresenting their income, which may occur in face-to-face interviews, and/or wealthier respond- have studied or worked in institutions addressing environ- mental conservation, and 38% of respondents were willing ents preferring to invest in other more lucrative projects. We find that access to the urban forest is statistically sig - to volunteer for forest management programs. Figure 3 shows the distribution of votes in favor of the nificant at 10%. The negative sign of the coefficient indicates that the probability of supporting the biodiversity project proposed biodiversity project across bid values. The prob- ability of supporting the biodiversity project decreased as decreases as distance increases. The marginal effects suggest 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences Table 3 Logit models for the contingent valuation data Variables Coefficients for  model Marginal effects Coefficients for  model Marginal effects Coefficients for  model Marginal effects 1 2 3 Constant −0.474 (1.342) – 1.430 (0611) −0.331 (1.322) – *** *** *** *** *** *** Cost −0.031 (0.006) 0.005 (0.001) −0.031 (0.006) 0.005 (0.001) 0.032 (0.006) 0.005 (0.000) Gender 0.354 (0.350) 0.060 (0.058) – – 0.273 (0.345) 0.047 (0.058) Age 0.018 (0.014) 0.003 (0.002) – – 0.018 (0.013) 0.003 (0.002) Education 0.083 (0.271) 0.014 (0.046) – – 0.083 (0.270) 0.014 (0.046) Income 0.081 (0.114) 0.014 (0.019) – – 0.080 (0.114) 0.014 (0.019) * * * * * * Access −0.176 (0.180) −0.030 (0.030) −0.157 (0.165) −0.028 (0.029) −0.209 (0.176) −0.035 (0.030) Active 0.938 (0.632) 0.158 (0.104) – – – – Institutions 1.526 (1.057) 0.256 (0.175) – – – – *** *** *** *** Volunteering 1.052 (0.389) 0.177 (0.061) 1.021 (0.340) 0.180 (0.055) – – *** *** Awareness – – – 1.340 (0.381) 0.228 (0.057) N 208 208 208 Pseudo R 0.28 0.25 0.26 AIC 228.60 225.31 226.98 BIC 261.98 238.66 253.68 *** * Significant at 0.01, significant at 0.10 that for one unit increase in the proximity to the forest (see and Sofi 2021), which may be attributed to income differ - Likert scale in Table 3), the probability of supporting the ences across countries. However, the results are significantly biodiversity project decreased by 3%. This result is expected, smaller than prior studies on forest preservation in Puerto as residents near the forest can obtain more benefits than Rico (Tavárez and Elbakidze 2021). The proposed project residents living farther away. For example, the residents requires human intervention in the forest ecosystem to estab- near the forest can enjoy scenic beauty, lower temperatures, lish and maintain the nursery as opposed to forest preserva- cleaner air, bird watching, and noise reduction. tion programs that limit interventions in the forest. Some The coefficients for active engagement with environmen- respondents in our study may have discounted the value of tal initiatives and past education or work experience with forest alterations from interventions, which may affect other environmental institutions are insignificant, while the coef- ecosystem services provided by the forest. ficient for willingness to volunteer with environmental con - We estimated two additional models to examine robust- servation programs is significant and positive. This result ness of the results and WTP estimates with corresponding suggests that respondents who are willing to volunteer in confidence intervals (results not shown but available upon forest management programs are more likely to support the request). The first model includes multiple dummy codes biodiversity project. The marginal effect of volunteering for all categorical variables, and the second model uses indicates that the probability of supporting the biodiversity mid-points for the income and access variables. For the first project is 18% higher for this group of residents relative to model, only one level of the income variable is significant, those who are not willing or able to volunteer. The awareness and in the second model, the variables for midpoints are variable is positive and significant, indicating that involve- insignificant. According to the Akaike Information Crite- ment in environmental management initiatives is positively rion, Schwarz Criterion and Adjusted Pseudo-R Squared, correlated with preferences for improving biodiversity. The marginal effect indicates that participants who answered yes Table 4 Willingness to pay estimates across regression models to at least one of the three environmental awareness ques- Regression models Willingness to pay ($) 95% tions are 23% more likely to support the biodiversity project Confidence than those who did not. a intervals We estimate WTP for biodiversity improvement using Model 1 43.99 32.12–57.57 native plants and trees from a nursery in RHCF according Model 2 42.66 32.07–54.61 to Eq 5. The results show that households are willing to pay Model 3 42.88 32.49–55.35 $43/year for the biodiversity project in the RHCM (Table 4). The estimate is higher than prior stated preference studies a Confidence intervals are calculated following the Krinsky and Robb on biodiversity in other regions (Christie et al. 2006; Bhat procedure (1986) 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences which penalize the inclusion of a high number of param- While the objective of this study focused on eliciting eters included in the model, these two models do not provide WTP for improving biodiversity via plant and tree plant- improved model fit. Furthermore, the WTP estimates and ing in the local forest, the focus group participants also confidence intervals remain relatively unchanged. expressed interest in using the forest for economic growth The t-tests results suggest that residents involved in including employment opportunities and income from tour- environmental management initiatives are younger (mean ism and commercialization of local products. We do not = 55.53, SD = 1.55) than uninvolved residents (mean = address these benefits explicitly in this study. Instead, we 65.39, SD = 1.24; P < 0.01). This result is consistent with quantify WTP for biodiversity improvement program. The the growth in formal and informal environmental education estimated WTP may include the perceived values of poten- in recent decades. The results also suggest that residents tial pecuniary benefits from improved forest biodiversity. involved in environmental management initiatives are mar- ginally more educated (mean = 3.58, SD = 0.08) than resi- dents not involved in such initiatives (mean = 3.11, SD = Conclusions 0.07; P < 0.01). Educated residents are likely to possess a deeper understanding of the multifaceted contributions that Forests play a vital role in enhancing the quality of life in the forests make to society, including carbon sequestration and surrounding communities by offering a wide array of goods water purification. As a result, they are more inclined to and services, including carbon sequestration, air purifica- demonstrate heightened interest and engagement in envi- tion, and recreational opportunities. To support biodiversity ronmental initiatives compared to less educated individu- and ensure forest sustainability, nurseries for native plants als. This correlation between education and environmental and trees can be an effective tool. However, establishing and awareness suggests that promoting educational opportunities maintaining such projects can be costly. As a result, such can be useful for cultivating a broader understanding of the projects are unlikely to be pursued without first documenting value of forests and for nurturing a commitment to environ- that potential benefits can outweigh the costs. mental conservation. The benefits of such programs depend on the preferences The estimated WTP values can be used to compare over- of local residents. Environmental involvement and educa- all costs and benefits of growing native plants and trees in tion play significant roles in shaping these preferences and the RHCM nursery and transplanting them to other forests promoting biodiversity and conservation initiatives. In this in the area. The Rio Hondo ward of Mayagüez includes 3047 study, we used a contingent valuation method to estimate residents and 1172 households (2.6 persons per household; households’ WTP for increasing biodiversity through the US Census 2021). Seventy-four percent of respondents in enrichment planting of native plants and trees sourced from this study were willing to pay for the biodiversity project. a local forest nursery. Additionally, we assessed the influ- By extrapolating these figures, 867 of households are will- ence of environmental awareness on residents’ support for ing to pay for the project. Therefore, the benefits for the the biodiversity project. region’s population over a period of 5 years at 6% discount The results show that households in the Rio Hondo ward rate is $166,000. It is important to note that this estimate is (Puerto Rico) are willing to pay $43/year to enhance the based on the assumption that the decisions of some of the RHCF biodiversity through establishing a nursery for native residents to not participate in the survey are unrelated to the plants and trees and transplanting them throughout the for- topic of the survey. Thirty-seven individuals declined to talk est. These WTP estimates are considerably smaller than to the interviewers. We assume that they refused to engage estimates of WTP for forest preservation in Puerto Rico with the interviewers for reasons such as safety rather than (Tavárez and Elbakidze 2021). However, the scope of our biodiversity preferences. Safety could have been a concern study is more narrowly focused on biodiversity as opposed for some of the residents as the timing of the interview over- to forest conservation broadly. Therefore, a lower WTP in lapped with heightened crime occurences in the region and this study can be expected. Another reason for a lower WTP COVID19. in this study can be that the proposed biodiversity project We obtained costs of establishing and maintaining the in the RHCF requires human intervention to establish and nursery and transplanting the trees from two private firms in maintain the nursery. Some respondents may have viewed the western Puerto Rico with experience in nursery develop- this as contrary to preservation initiatives that restrict human ment. The costs were estimated at $95,000 over a period of 5 interventions. Such respondents may have discounted the years at 6% discount rate. Thus, projected benefits are 75% value of nursery-based biodiversity support strategy. higher than the costs of the biodiversity project, indicating Tavarez and Elbakidze (2021) evaluated the effect of that the project is economically viable. However, the costs environmental dispositions on urban forest valuation. We ($39,150) are greater than the benefits ($37,281) in the first contribute to their research by exploring three elements of year of the project. environmental disposition to evaluate resident preferences 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences for increasing biodiversity. In particular, we consider prior References work experience or education in environmental conserva- Abelleira Martínez OJ (2017) El huracán María en Añasco y sus tion-related agencies, current involvement in environmental efectos en sistemas sociales-ecológicos del norte y oeste de organizations, and willingness to volunteer in environmental Puerto Rico. Acta Científica 31:60–78 sustainability projects. We found that willingness to volun- Abelleira Martínez OJ (2018) Fauna del Bosque Comunitario de teer in forest management and overall environmental aware- Rio Hondo. Pages 24-28. In: Candelaria IR, Méndez CL, Anto- nio JRS, Santiago DG, Vélez SC, Méndez AP, Martyínez OJA, ness (engagement in at least one of the three elements) are Cartagena GR (eds) Plan de Co-Manejo del Bosque Comuni- correlated with willingness to support biodiversity using tario de Río Hondo en Mayagüez, Puerto Rico: Empresa Comu- native plants and trees from a nursery. Additionally, we nitaria con Propósito Social, Ambiental, Cultural y Recreativo. found that age and education are not correlated with WTP Servicio de Extensión Agrícola, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayagüez for the nursery-based biodiversity program but are correlated Abelleira Martínez OJ (2019) Geographic distribution and spatial with environmental awareness. This suggests that to encour- attributes of African tulip tree forests in north-central Puerto age forest management, policy makers can use education and Rico: implications for social-ecological resilience. J Agri Univ outreach activities to grow environmental awareness. Puerto Rico 103:1–25. https:// doi. org/ 10. 46429/ jaupr. v103i1. This study used data collected from 208 survey partici- Ajzen I, Brown TC, Rosenthal LH (1996) Information bias in con- pants. Although prior studies have conducted contingent val- tingent valuation: effects of personal relevance, quality of infor - uation studies with fewer observations (Kotchen and Reiling mation, and motivational orientation. J Environ Econ Manag 2000; Christie et al. 2006; Akram and Olmstead 2011), this 30(1):43–57 Akram AA, Olmstead SM (2011) The value of household water service figure may be considered relatively low. Additional studies quality in Lahore, Pakistan. Environ Resour Econ 49:173–198. may be needed to extend our results to a larger sample and https:// doi. org/ 10. 1007/ s10640- 010- 9429-7 geographic region. Báez Rivera G, Cruz Aguilar RE, Pérez Méndez A, Rivera San Antonio J, Túa Ayala GZ, Keyser T, Abelleira Martínez OJ (2021) Prelimi- Acknowledgements This work was supported by the USDA-NIFA nary estimate of the immediate effects of Hurricane María on the McIntire-Stennis, project 1026720 and WVA00759. We thank Victor tree structure and species composition of novel forests in the moist González for organizing focus groups meetings and forest visits. We lowlands of Puerto Rico. Acta Científica 32:34–100 thank Sherly Rivera, Juan Matías, and Phillip Bonneaux, three gradu- Barrio M, Loureiro ML (2010) A meta-analysis of contingent valuation ate students from the University of Puerto Rico, for assistance with the forest studies. Ecol Econ 69:1023–1030. https://doi. or g/10. 1016/j. focus groups and data collection. ecole con. 2009. 11. 016 Bartczak A (2015) The role of social and environmental attitudes in Author contribution HT and OA contributed to the conception and non-market valuation: an application to the Białowieża Forest. design of the study. Data analysis was performed by HT and LE. The Forest Policy Econ 50:357–365 first draft of the manuscript was written by HT and OA and revised by Bateman IJ, Carson RT, Day B, Hanemann WM, Hanley N, Hett T, LE. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript. Jones- Lee M, Loomes G, Mourato S, Ozdemiroglu E, Pearce DW, Sugden R, Swanson S (2002) Economic valuation with stated Data availability The dataset used for this study is available upon preference techniques: a manual. Edward Elgar, Massachusetts, request to the corresponding author. USA Bhat MY, Sofi AA (2021) Willingness to pay for biodiversity conserva - Declarations tion in Dachigam National Park. India J Nat Conserv 62:126022. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1016/j. jnc. 2021. 126022 Ethics approval This study was approved by the Institutional Review Biénabe E, Hearne RR (2006) Public preferences for biodiversity con- Board on Human Subjects (no. 2021040026) of the University of servation and scenic beauty within a framework of environmental Puerto Rico at Mayagüez in April 2021. services payments. Forest Policy Econ 9:335–348. https://doi. or g/ 10. 1016/j. forpol. 2005. 10. 002 Competing interests The authors declare no competing interests. Carlsson F, Frykblom P, Lagerkvist CJ (2005) Using cheap talk as a test of validity in choice experiments. Econ Lett 89(2):147–152. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1016/j. econl et. 2005. 03. 010 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attri- Casey JF, Kahn JR, Rivas A (2006) Willingness to pay for improved bution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adapta- water service in Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil. Ecol Econ 58:365– tion, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long 372. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1016/j. ecole con. 2005. 07. 016 as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, Champ PA, Boyle KJ, Brown TC (2003) A primer on nonmarket valu- provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes ation. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Norwell MA were made. The images or other third party material in this article are Chazdon RL, Whitmore TC (eds) (2001) Foundations of tropical forest included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated biology: classic papers with commentaries. University of Chicago otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in Press the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not Christie M, Hanley N, Warren J, Murphy K, Wright R, Hyde T (2006) permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will Valuing the diversity of biodiversity. Ecol Econ 58:304–317. need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a https:// doi. org/ 10. 1016/j. ecole con. 2005. 07. 034 copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Connell JH (1978) Diversity in tropical rain forests and coral reefs. Science 199:1302–1310. h t t p s : / / d o i . o r g / 1 0 . 1 1 2 6 / s c i e n c e . 1 9 9 . 4335. 1302 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences Cruz Aguilar R (2022) Growth and survival of juvenile trees of pri- Lugo AE (2008) Visible and invisible effects of hurricanes on forest mary forest species in enrichment plantings in novel forests of ecosystems: an international review. Austral Ecol 33(4):368–398. north-western Puerto Rico. Master’s Thesis. University of Puerto https:// doi. org/ 10. 1111/j. 1442- 9993. 2008. 01894.x Rico, Mayagüez Lugo AE (2012) Social silviculture: a new paradigm in the search for Cummings RG, Taylor LO (1999) Unbiased value estimates for envi- sustainable land conservation in the tropics? Bois et Forêts des ronmental goods: a cheap talk design for the contingent valuation Tropiques 314:3–5 method. Am Econ Rev 89(3):649–665. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1257/ Lugo AE, Carlo TA, Wunderle JM (2012) Natural mixing of species: aer. 89.3. 649 novel plant-animal communities on Caribbean islands. Anim Do TN, Bennett J (2009) Estimating wetland biodiversity values: a Conserv 15(3):233–241. https:// doi. or g/ 10. 1111/j. 1469- 1795. choice modelling application in Vietnam’s Mekong River Delta. 2012. 00523.x Environ Dev Econ 14(2):163–186 Lugo AE (2018) Social-ecological-technological effects of hurricane Engström G, Gren A (2017) Capturing the value of green space in urban María on Puerto Rico: planning for resilience under extreme parks in a sustainable urban planning and design context: pros and events. Springer cons of hedonic pricing. Ecol Soc 22(2):21. https:// doi. org/ 10. 5751/ Lugo AE, Winchell KM, Carlo TA (2018) Novelty in ecosystems. ES- 09365- 220221 In: DellaSala DA, Goldstein MI (eds) The Encyclopedia of the Francis JK, Lowe CA (2000) Silvics of native and exotic trees of Puerto Anthropocene, vol 3. Elsevier, Oxford, pp 259–271 Rico and the Caribbean islands. USDA For Serv Gen Tech Rep Lugo AE, Abelleira Martínez OJ, Medina E, Aymard G, Heartsill- IITF-15. https:// doi. org/ 10. 2737/ IITF- GTR- 15 Scalley T (2020) Novelty in the tropical forests of the 21st century. Fuentes-Ramírez RR (2014) An approximation of Puerto Rico’s human Adv Ecol Res 62:53–116. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1016/ bs. aecr. 2020. development index. Caribb Stud 42(1):253–258. https:// doi.or g/ 01. 008 10. 1353/ crb. 2014. 0010 McFadden D (1974) Conditional logit analysis of qualitative choice Geoghegan J, Lynch L, Bucholtz S (2003) Capitalization of open behavior. In: Zarembka P (ed) Frontiers in Econometrics. Aca- spaces into housing values and the residential property tax reve- demic Press, Nueva York nue impacts of agricultural easement programs. Agri Resour Econ MEA (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment) (2005) Ecosystems and Rev 32(1):33–45. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1017/ s1068 28050 00024 83 human well-being: synthesis. Island Press, Washington D.C. Hanemann M (1984) Welfare evaluations in contingent valuation Min S, Bai J, Huang J, Waibel H (2018) Willingness of smallholder experiments with discrete responses data. Am J Agric Econ rubber farmers to participate in ecosystem protection: effects of 66(3):332–341. https:// doi. org/ 10. 2307/ 12408 00 household wealth and environmental awareness. Forest Policy Hanemann M (1989) Welfare evaluations in contingent valuation Econ 87:70–84 experiments with discrete responses data: reply. Am J Agric Econ Mori A, Lertzman KP, Gustafsson L (2017) Biodiversity and ecosys- 71(4):1057–1061. https:// doi. org/ 10. 2307/ 12426 85 tem services in forest ecosystems: a research agenda for applied Hobbs RJ, Higgs ES, Hall CM (2013) Novel ecosystems: intervening forest ecology. J Appl Ecol 54(1):12–27. https://doi. or g/10. 1111/ in the new ecological world order. Wiley-Blackwell, UK1365- 2664. 12669 Jacobsen JB, Hanley N (2009) Are there income effects on global Parsons GR, Myers KH (2016) Fat tails and truncated bids in contin- willingness to pay for biodiversity conservation? Environ Resour gent valuation: an application to an endangered shorebird species. Econ 43:137–160 Ecol Econ 129:210–219. https://doi. or g/10. 1016/j. ecole con. 2016. Japelj A, Mavsar R, Hodges DG, Kovač M, Juvancic L (2016) Latent 06. 010 preferences of residents regarding an urban forest recreation set- Pattanayak SK, Butry DT (2005) Spatial complementarity of forests ting in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Forest Policy Econ 71:71–79. https:// and farms: accounting for ecosystem services. Am J Agric Econ doi. org/ 10. 1016/j. forpol. 2015. 10. 003 87(4):995–1008. h tt ps :/ / do i. o r g / 1 0. 1 111 / j. 1 4 67 - 8 276 . 2 0 05 . Johnston RJ, Boyle KJ, Adamowicz WL, Bennett J, Brouwer R, Cam- 00783.x eron TA, Hanemann WM, Hanley N, Ryan M, Scarpa R, Tou- Planning Board PR (2018) Economic Report to the Governor (2017). rangeau R, Vossler CA (2017) Contemporary guidance for stated Puerto Rico Planning Board preference studies. J Assoc Environ Resour Econ 4(2):319–405. Redford KH, Richter B (1999) Conservation of biodiversity in a world https:// doi. org/ 10. 1086/ 691697 of use. Conserv Biol 13(6):1246–1256. https://doi. or g/10. 1046/j. Kerr GN (2000) Dichotomous choice contingent valuation probability 1523- 1739. 1999. 97463.x distributions. Aust J Agric Resour Econ 44(2):233–252. https:// Ricketts TH, Daily GC, Ehrlich PR, Michener CD (2004) Economic doi. org/ 10. 1111/ 1467- 8489. 00109 value of tropical forest to coffee production. Proc Natl Acad Sci Kotchen MJ, Reiling SD (2000) Environmental attitudes, motivations, U S A 101(34):12579–12582. https://doi. or g/10. 1073/ pnas. 04051 and contingent valuation of nonuse values: a case study involving 47101 endangered species. Ecol Econ 32(1):93–107. https:// doi. org/ 10. Ricklefs R (2001) The economy of nature, 5th edn. W.H. Freeman and 1016/ s0921- 8009(99) 00069-5 Co, New York, p 550 Lavorel S, Storkey J, Bardgett RD, De Bello F, Berg MP, Roux XL, Rivera-Acosta KA (2018) Disposición a pagar por la conservación del Moretti M, Mulder C, Pakeman RJ, Diaz S, Harrington R (2013) bosque urbano en la finca Montaña, Aguadilla. Master’s Thesis. A novel framework for linking functional diversity of plants with University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, PR other trophic levels for the quantification of ecosystem services. J Rivera San Antonio J (2021) Structure and species composition of the Veg Sci 24(5):942–948. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1111/ jvs. 12083 Río Hondo Community Forest in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, before Lindhjem H, Navrud S (2011) Are internet surveys an alternative and after Hurricane María: implications for social-ecological to face-to-face interviews in contingent valuation? Ecol Econ resilience. Master’s Thesis. University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez 70:1628–1637. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1016/j. ecole con. 2011. 04. 002 Rivera San Antonio J, Abelleira Martínez OJ (2022) Response capacity Long D, West GH, Nayga RM (2021) Consumer willingness-to-pay of stakeholders in the forestry sector to the immediate effects of for restaurant surcharges to reduce carbon emissions: default and hurricane María: implications for community forest management. information effects. Agri Resour Econ Rev 50(2):338–366 Acta Científica 33:33–45 Loureiro ML, Lotade J (2005) Interviewer effects on the valuation of Rodríguez-Candelaria I, López-Méndez C, Rivera-Sanantonio J, García-Santiago D, Crespo-Vélez S, Pérez-Méndez A, Abelleira- goods with ethical and environmental attributes. Environ Resour Martínez O, Ramos-Cartagenas G (2018) Plan de co-manejo del Econ 30:49–72. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1007/ s10640- 004- 1149-4 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences Bosque Comunitario de Río Hondo en Mayagüez, Puerto Rico: enrichment planting success before and after Hurricane María. Bra- Empresa Comunitaria con Propósito Social, Ambiental, Cultural zilian. J For Res 39(768):e201902043 y Recreativo. Management Plan. US Forest Service Wadsworth FH (1950) Notes on the climax forests of Puerto Rico and Tavárez H, Elbakidze L (2019) Valuing recreational enhancements in their destruction and conservation prior to 1900. Caribbean For- the San Patricio Urban Forest of Puerto Rico: a choice experi- ester 11:38–46 ment approach. Forest Policy Econ 109:102004. https:// doi. org/ Weaver PL, Gould WA (2013) Forest vegetation along environmental 10. 1016/j. forpol. 2019. 102004 gradients in northeastern Puerto Rico. In: González G, Willig Tavárez H, Elbakidze L, Abelleira-Martínez OJ, Ramos-Bendaña MR, Waide RB (eds) Ecological gradient analyses in a tropical Z, Bosque-Pérez NA (2021) Willingness to pay for gray and landscape, Ecological Bulletins 54. Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, green interventions to augment water supply: a case study in NJ, pp 43–66 rural Costa Rica. Environ Manag. https:// doi. or g/ 10. 1007/ s00267- 021- 01476-9 Publisher’s Note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to Tavárez H, Elbakidze L (2021) Urban forests valuation and environ- jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. mental disposition: the case of Puerto Rico. Forest Policy Econ 131:102572. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1016/j. forpol. 2021. 102572 Túa Ayala GZ, Abelleira Martínez OJ (2019) Interventions for agro- forestry and species restoration in novel forests of Puerto Rico: 1 3 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences Springer Journals

Environmental awareness and willingness to pay for biodiversity improvement in Puerto Rico

Loading next page...
 
/lp/springer-journals/environmental-awareness-and-willingness-to-pay-for-biodiversity-0EG2A1NJ7r

References (53)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s) 2023
ISSN
2190-6483
eISSN
2190-6491
DOI
10.1007/s13412-023-00869-y
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Biodiversity is vital for sustainable forest ecosystems. However, community values for forest biodiversity depend on envi- ronmental engagement, education, and awareness. The objectives of this study are to (1) assess households’ willingness to pay (WTP) for native plant and tree nursery in the Rio Hondo Community Forest (RHCF) of Puerto Rico, with the specific goal of supporting biodiversity and (2) examine the influence of environmental awareness on preferences for biodiversity improvement. Using a contingent valuation method, we find that households are willing to contribute $43/year to support biodiversity in the RHCF by planting native plants and trees, and that environmental awareness increases the support for biodiversity projects. The results suggest that outcomes of economic cost-benefit analyses can depend on environmental awareness. Hence, programs that support environmental awareness can improve economic efficiency of environmental protection projects. Keywords Biodiversity · Contingent valuation · Environmental awareness · Puerto Rico · Willingness to pay Introduction long-term provision of ecosystem services and the sustain- ability of resilient forest ecosystems, community support Forest ecosystems offer a range of invaluable benefits that of conservation and biodiversity management is imperative. greatly enhance human well-being, including the aesthetic One effective approach to enhancing regional biodiversity appeal of scenic beauty, the provision of essential ecosystem involves the establishment of nursery programs aimed at services, and the preservation of biodiversity (MEA 2005; cultivating native plants and trees for subsequent planting in Tavárez and Elbakidze 2019). Biodiversity, in particular, the surrounding forests (Lugo 2012; Mori et al. 2017). How- plays a crucial role in maintaining the health and dynamism ever, it is important to acknowledge that this strategy can be of forest ecosystems, while also holding immense intrin- financially demanding, requiring careful economic analysis sic value as a fundamental forest attribute. To ensure the and valuation before its endorsement and implementation. Environmental quality, including biodiversity, is a public good that can be degraded due to the absence of well-defined * Héctor Tavárez property rights (MEA 2005). Non-profit organizations, hector.tavarez2@upr.edu including government agencies, are essential for the provi- Oscar Abelleira sion of public goods. However, economic efficiency neces- oscarj.abelleira@upr.edu sitates that the benefits of such public goods surpass the Levan Elbakidze costs to justify public expenditures. Therefore, a thorough levan.elbakidze@mail.wvu.edu understanding of program costs and benefits is necessary for effective public management of environmental initiatives. Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico While estimating costs for many environmental management programs and policies, particularly those associated with Department of Agro-Environmental Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico labor, materials, land, and equipment, is relatively straight- forward, estimating the value of benefits is challenging due Resource Economics and Management, Davis College of Agriculture Natural Resources and Design, Center to their non-rivalrous and non-excludable nature. for Innovation in Gas Research and Utilization, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA Vol.:(0123456789) 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences One widely used approach to assess the benefits of a policy if environmental engagement and pro-environmental atti- aimed at providing non-market public goods is to estimate the tudes are significant factors for biodiversity preferences in population’s willingness to pay (WTP) for those goods. In a developing country setting. Tavárez and Elbakidze (2021) the realm of environmental quality and biodiversity specifi- demonstrate the significance of environmental involvement cally, community preferences can be influenced by familiarity and literacy for forest preservation preferences in Puerto and involvement in environmental protection efforts (Tavárez Rico. They show that WTP to prevent the conversion of an and Elbakidze 2021). Consequently, the benet fi s derived from urban forest to alternative land use depends on respondents’ enhancing environmental quality and the results of the benefit- environmental disposition. We build on their research by cost analysis can be contingent upon the community’s envi- investigating the willingness of households in Puerto Rico ronmental awareness and attitudes. to pay for native plants and trees from a nursery in a local The significance of environmental attitudes and aware- forest to improve biodiversity. Additionally, we explore the ness for non-market valuation has been demonstrated in prior influence of environmental awareness on the preferences for literature. For example, using the New Ecological Paradigm initiatives focused on enhancing forest biodiversity. scale, Kotchen and Reiling (2000) and Bartzak (2015) find that Biodiversity refers to the richness and variability of survey respondents in the USA and Poland with stronger pro- genetic information and species at all levels of phylogenetic environmental attitudes are more likely to support and are will- (e.g., protozoans, fungi, plants, animals) and ecological (e.g., ing to pay more for endangered species protection and forest community, landscape, region) organization. As defined improvement, respectively. The role of environmental aware- by Redford and Richter (1999), “biodiversity refers to the ness has also been documented in the context of consumer natural variety and variability among living organisms, the preferences for restaurant surcharge in support of carbon emis- ecological complexes in which they naturally occur, and the sion reduction in the USA (Long et al. 2021), farmers’ willing- ways in which they interact with each other and with the ness to participate in ecosystem protection in China (Min et al. physical environment.” Biodiversity plays a crucial role in 2018), and WTP for migratory bird protection in Netherlands shaping the structure and functioning of ecosystems, which (Brouwer et al. 2008). However, there is a lack of studies that in turn influences the sustainability of species and genetic examine the impact of environmental awareness on preferences diversity (Connell 1978; Lavorel et al. 2013). for biodiversity improvement programs in regions outside of One notable example is the coevolution between certain North America and Europe. We fill this gap by addressing this tree species and animals that are attracted to flowers and topic in the context of forest biodiversity improvement in the fruits. These animals serve as pollinators or seed dispersers Rio Hondo Community Forest (RHCF) in Puerto Rico. (Ricklefs 2001; Chazdon and Whitmore 2001). This symbi- Interventions aimed at supporting endemic and native tree otic relationship between plants and animals contributes to species in the forest can serve as an effective tool for educat- an increase in tree diversity at new sites, consequently foster- ing residents and cultivating their appreciation for biodiversity ing a greater diversity of animal species that rely on these and for the RHCF. RHCF visitor trail hikes include experi- trees for food and habitat. Endemic, native, and introduced mental enrichment planting activities featuring species such plant and animal species can also hold significant cultural, as C. rugosa, D. excelsa, L. monosperma, and M. bidentata, culinary, and economic value, further emphasizing the ben- effectively functioning as educational opportunities (Cruz- efits associated with enhancing biodiversity (Hobbs et al. Aguilar 2022). Similarly, enrichment plantings of edible fruit 2013; Lugo et al. 2020). trees like avocado (Persea americana), breadfruit (Artocarpus The significance of biodiversity has been recognized atilis), cacao (Theobroma cacao), coffee (Coffea arabica), by not only natural scientists but also social scientists, jácana (Pouteria multiflora), and jagua (Genipa americana) leading to a steady growth in the literature on the eco- also have demonstrated the benefits of agroforestry practices nomic valuation of biodiversity. Prior literature includes (Abelleira 2019; Túa and Abelleira 2019). studies in developed as well as developing country set- The literature exploring the influence of environmental tings. Jacobsen and Hanley (2009) report the results from awareness and experiences on preferences for biodiver- a meta-analysis of WTP estimates for biodiversity conser- sity in developing countries is scarce . It remains unclear vation using forty-six contingent valuation studies across six continents. They conclude that society’s wealth is a major determinant of WTP for biodiversity conservation. 1 Christie et al. (2006) find that the public in England values Puerto Rico has one of the highest human development indexes most, but not all, aspects of biodiversity. However, there and one of the highest, if not the highest, gross product per capita in Latin America and the Caribbean (see UNDP 2022). In 2012, the seems to be no preference for a pathway to biodiversity human development index in Puerto Rico was 0.865. However, the protection. inequality-adjusted human development index was 0.685, with human In a developing country setting, Do and Bennett (2009) development patterns closer to Romania (0.687) and Croatia (0.683) estimate non-market values of biodiversity protection in a (Fuentes-Ramírez 2014). 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences Mekong River Delta (MRD) wetland ecosystem. Using three that affect the value of biodiversity improvements? Does different subsamples of Vietnamese households, depending environmental awareness affect the value of biodiversity on residence distance from MRD, they document significant improvements and, consequently, economic viability? net social benefits from biodiversity protection and advocate Focusing on the RHCF in western Puerto Rico, we esti- the use of contingent valuation methods in the developing mate households’ WTP for increasing biodiversity using country settings. Biénabe and Hearne (2006) measure WTP native plants and trees cultivated from a local nursery pro- of foreign tourists and Costa Ricans for biodiversity conser- gram and examine the effect of environmental awareness on vation and scenic beauty using payments for environmental WTP. We use a dichotomous choice contingent valuation services. They conclude that both populations are willing method because the focus of the study is on the evaluation of to pay more for biodiversity conservation than for scenic a particular project rather than attribute-specific effects. The beauty. Bhat and Sofi (2021) explore residents’ WTP for instrument is designed to elicit resident willingness to make biodiversity conservation in India using a contingent valua- a financial contribution to biodiversity improvement efforts. tion method and find that residents are willing to pay $3.32/ We focus on native plants and trees as elements of biodiver- year for biodiversity conservation. sity. At this stage, preferences are examined for qualitative Revealed and stated preference-based methods have been rather than quantitative improvements in biodiversity. As widely used to estimate the value of non-market goods and an initial step of biodiversity valuation in Puerto Rico, we services provided by terrestrial ecosystems, including for- explore preferences for biodiversity improvement efforts in ests (Ricketts et al. 2004; Pattanayak and Butry 2005; Bar- principle rather than for particular species and quantities. rio and Loureiro 2010; Johnston et al. 2017; Tavárez and We find that WTP for biodiversity improvement via native Elbakidze 2019; Tavárez et al. 2021). Revealed preference plants and trees is statistically significant. Future research methods rely on the observed data, whereas stated prefer- should examine WTP for particular species and/or quantita- ence methods are based on choices made in hypothetical set- tive increments in improvement. tings (Birol et al. 2006; Johnston et al. 2017). An example of revealed preference methods is hedonic valuation, which is based on the observed real estate transactions. This method Study area assumes that property prices depend on the characteristics of the property, proximity to public areas and services (e.g., This study was conducted in Puerto Rico, where exposure hospitals, schools, and parks), and environmental amenities. to hurricanes can lead to short-term biodiversity loss if con- The tangible benefits of forests like recreation, scenic view, servation efforts are weak (Lugo 2008; Báez et al. 2021). and noise reduction are likely to be captured in the property In 2017, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria wreaked prices. However, less tangible benefits like carbon seques- havoc, with the latter causing a staggering $41 billion in tration and habitat for biodiversity may not be captured in economic losses (PR Planning Board 2018). The immedi- housing prices (Geoghegan et al. 2003; Engström and Gren ate focus was on restoring basic necessities like electricity, 2017; Tavárez and Elbakidze 2021). Non-use bequest and water, and roads, often spearheaded by local communities existence values may also not be captured in revealed prefer- (Abelleira 2017; Lugo 2018; Rivera and Abelleira 2022). ence methods (Birol et al. 2006; Johnston et al. 2017). Thus, However, limited understanding of biodiversity’s importance the value of non-market goods and services is likely to be hindered the government’s allocation of financial resources underestimated in revealed preference-based methods. for forest recovery and management programs. In 2022, Stated preference-based methods, including contingent Hurricane Fiona also caused significant harm to commu- valuation and discrete choice experiments, account for non- nities, economies, and forest ecosystems. To enhance the use values and can be applied in situations where real behav- resilience of Puerto Rico’s forests against hurricanes and ior data is unavailable. Both stated preference methods have climate change, it is important to develop conservation pro- been widely used to examine WTP for non-market goods grams that enrich forests with native plants and trees, thus and services, including forest benefits (Barrio and Loureiro increasing biodiversity. 2010; Juutinen et al. 2014; Japelj et al. 2016; Tavárez et al. Puerto Rico, a US territory since 1898, is an archipelago 2021; Tavárez and Elbakidze 2021). The contingent valua- in the Caribbean consisting of a main island and several tion is a convenient method to examine WTP for the com- smaller islands. With a population of 3.2 million (US Census bined characteristics of a project or policy as a whole, while 2021), it is the smallest of the Greater Antilles. The main choice experiments are convenient for evaluating trade-offs island spans 9104 km and has experienced significant forest between project attributes. cover growth since the 1940s, primarily due to agricultural The research questions in this study are as follows: do abandonment. Forest land now accounts for approximately residents value biodiversity improvement in western Puerto 56% of the island’s surface (USDA 2020). The RHCF is 27.5 Rico and if so, how large is the value? What are the factors ha (~68 ac) and is located in the Mayagüez municipality, in 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences Fig. 1 Puerto Rico and RHCF. The map in the upper left corner of Puerto Rico and the location of the Rio Hondo Community Forest shows the location of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. The map at lower (green circle). The map on the right shows the roads that give access left shows the municipality of Mayagüez (in red) on the main island to the forest western Puerto Rico (Fig. 1). This secondary forest naturally 1950; Weaver and Gould 2013; Cruz-Aguilar 2022). These regrew after the decline of agricultural production in the species, which are scarce or endangered in Puerto Rico, 1970s. provide flowers and fruits to pollinators and seed dispers- The RHCF has a remarkable array of plant and animal ers. Many endemic or native forest bird species (e.g., Lox- species (Abelleira 2018; Rivera San-Antonio 2021). It igilla portorricensis and Spindallis portorricencis) have contains at least 31 tree species, with 61% being native or supported natural seed dispersal (Lugo et al. 2012; Abel- endemic to Puerto Rico, and the remaining 39% introduced leira 2018). Enrichment plantings and stand management to the Archipelago. Species like Albizia procera, Senna sia- that favor endemic and native tree species with edible and mea, and Spathodea campanulata dominate certain areas, attractive fruits can increase the diversity of birds and having colonized former sugar cane and grazing lands other animals. approximately 50 years ago. Some of these introduced spe- cies, such as A. procera, are capable of biological nitrogen fixation, enabling their growth on sites unsuitable for other species. Additionally, small seeds or pods facilitate wind Materials and methods dispersal over long distances, aiding colonization of fallow lands (Francis and Lowe 2000). However, native tree spe- Figure 2 outlines the study’s structure. We relied on litera- cies like Cupania americana and Guarea guidonia have also ture and stakeholder input to identify preferences for biodi- become dominant, dispersed through animals, particularly versity enhancement in the RHCF. This information guided birds (Francis and Lowe 2000; Rivera San Antonio 2021). the development of a survey instrument, including the con- The abundance of native and introduced species can tingent valuation and environmental awareness-related ques- be influenced by hurricanes, human intervention, and tions. The questionnaire underwent testing in focus groups individual species responses (Connel 1978; Lugo et al. and subsequent revisions. Using data from the contingent 2020; Báez et al. 2021). Conservation efforts in the forest valuation method, we estimated residents’ willingness to can focus on enrichment plantings of native tree species pay (WTP) for biodiversity improvement by planting native adapted to the local climate, geology, and soil conditions, plants and trees in the RHCF and examined the effect of accompanied by management interventions like stand environmental awareness on WTP. thinning. Enrichment plantings of endemic and native species such as Coccoloba rugosa, Dacryodes excelsa, Ex ante information Libidibia monosperma, and Manilkara bidentata, which historically occupied lowlands before deforestation, can We gathered insights from literature (Rivera-Acosta 2018; enhance the conservation value of the RHCF (Wadsworth Rodríguez-Candelaria et al. 2018; Tavárez and Elbakidze 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences valuation exercise, multiple criticisms have been raised, Ex-ante Interviews of Lieterature including hypothetical bias, embedding, and scope problems information stakeholders review (Hausman 2012). Interviewer bias may be present in face- Contingent Survey and Environmental to-face interviews (Loureiro and Lotade 2005) and quality valuaiton engagement study design of information presented in the survey instrument can affect format outcomes of CV studies (Ajzen et  al. 1996). To address Validation, Survey Focus group credibility and these and other limitations, researchers have developed and revisions price range applied multiple strategies in empirical studies. These strat- egies include cheap-talk scripts, training protocols, identi- Survey Face-to-face Training of distribution interviews interviewers fication of protest responses, and use of various valuation formats for cross-validation (Bateman et al. 2002; Jin et al. Econometric Marginal Logit models 2006; Tavárez et al. 2021). Guiding principles have been models effects developed for better practices in using contingent valuation (Arrow et al. 1993; Johnston et al. 2017). Fig. 2 Structure of the study Contingent valuation is particularly useful in our context to obtain WTP estimates for a project as a whole, rather than evaluating trade-offs between project attributes, which would 2021) and stakeholder interviews, including University of require the use of other methods. We used a single-bounded Puerto Rico (UPR) faculty members, community residents, dichotomous choice contingent method because this format and RHCF board of directors, to identify preferences for mimics transactions in the real marketplace, reduces outliers, land use and economic development programs. Ex ante and is incentive compatible (Bateman et al. 2002; Champ background information indicates residents’ interest in et al. 2003). In this format, respondents receive informa- various outdoor recreational activities, economic growth tion about the nature of the problem, means to solve the initiatives, and research opportunities originating from the problem, implementation mechanism, payment amount, and forest. Environmental conservation programs that promote frequency of payment. The respondent can either support or a sustainable forest for future generations were identified as oppose the proposed project with an associated cost (Bate- important factors. While planting native plants and trees was man et al. 2002). After receiving the instructions and the not explicitly highlighted, increasing biodiversity emerged information about the nursery for native plants and trees that as a priority for residents and stakeholders. This informa- would result in greater biodiversity, the respondents were tion served as the foundation for developing the valuation asked if they would agree to pay the indicated amount to exercise. support the biodiversity improvement project, ranging from $5 to $150/year per household. Only one contingent valua- Survey and study design tion question was presented to each respondent. A cheap-talk script was included to reduce hypothetical bias (Cummings The questionnaire was used to obtain primary data used and Taylor 1999; Carlsson et al. 2005). The translated ver- in the estimation. It included two main sections. Section 1 sion of the contingent valuation question script is as follows: contained the contingent valuation question and follow-up Native plants and trees are important factors for bio- inquiries to gain insights into responses to the valuation diversity. Land cover change and other human actions exercise. Section  2 collected information on respondent have reduced diversity. Even though there are projects sociodemographic characteristics (SDCs), such as age, gen- aimed at conserving native plants and trees in Puerto der, income, education level, and environmental awareness- Rico, more could be done to encourage preservation in related data. For instance, respondents were asked about the long term. The Rio Hondo Community Forest could their involvement in institutions focused on environmental be used as a nursery to germinate and later transplant conservation, their interest in volunteering for forest man- some native plant and tree species in support of flora agement, and their current participation in environmental and fauna diversity in the region. Such a project will management initiatives. Additionally, respondents were require an initial investment and labor costs to maintain given the opportunity to provide comments on the survey the native species. The project will only be carried out and study design, including their experience with the valu- if more than 50% of the residents are willing to pay ation exercise. support it. All households would pay the same amount. The contingent valuation method is sufficiently versatile to be applied in different contexts and, therefore, has been Assume that increasing biodiversity through native extensively used for estimation of WTP for non-market plants and trees from nursery programs in the Rio goods and services. Due to the hypothetical nature of the 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences Hondo Community Forest would cost $ AMOUNT per was distributed to all available households surrounding the year per household. Would you be willing to support RHCF who were willing to participate , particularly to resi- a policy that costs this amount per household per year dents of the Rio Hondo ward. The questionnaire was dis- to increase biodiversity in the Rio Hondo Community tributed to encompass a radius of one mile from the RHCF, Forest? involving a significant portion of the ward’s residents. The data was obtained during different days and times, allowing We used follow-up questions to identify potential pro- for preference heterogeneity across residents with diverse test or otherwise unreliable responses to the valuation exer- working schedules. cise, as suggested in prior stated preference-based literature (Bateman et al. 2002; Tavárez and Elbakidze 2019; Johnston et al. 2017). Particularly, respondents were asked to state Theoretical framework and empirics the reasons for supporting or not supporting the biodiver- sity project. Additionally, we incorporated an open-ended The contingent valuation method is based on random utility contingent valuation question to inquire about the maximum theory, which suggests that the individual utility is random monetary contribution the respondents were willing to make but can be decomposed into observable and unobservable towards the augmentation of biodiversity in the RHCF via components (McFadden 1974). An individual supports the native plants and trees. There are two scenarios for iden- proposed project if the corresponding utility (V) obtained tifying inconsistencies across the dichotomous choice and from the project after paying C is higher than the utility of open-ended contingent valuation formats. First, respondents the status quo with no additional cost (Hanemann 1984). In may agree to pay X amount in the dichotomous choice ques- our context, the respondents support increasing biodiversity tion but state a maximum WTP in the open-ended question through planting native plants and trees if: that is less than X. Second, respondents may refuse to pay 1 0 X amount in the dichotomous question but express a greater V I − C, Q , S > V I − 0, Q , S (1) than X willingness to pay in the open-ended question. Such responses can be used to screen out potentially unreliable where I represents income, S is the SDCs of respondents, 1 0 data. We conduct the analysis with and without these obser- Q represents the proposed project and Q represents the vations for robustness check. status quo. If V (I, C, Q, S) is the observable component of utility, the probability of an individual voting in favor of the Focus groups biodiversity project can be expressed as follows: 1 0 Prob(yes)= Prob V I − C, Q , S + e > V I, Q , S + e 1 0 Two focus group sessions were used to test the question- (2) naire and ensure its clarity, adequacy of length, and appro- where e priateness of selected cost range. Each session lasted 2 h are unobservable components of utility. Assuming and included 8 and 12 participants. The first focus group that e follow a logistic probability distribution, this can be included members of the RHCF board of directors and UPR expressed as follows (Greene 2012): faculty, and the second included residents who live near the v v Prob(yes)= e ∕(e + 1) (3) forest. Best efforts were made to ensure diverse representa- tion in terms of age, gender, and educational to account for Assuming the utility function is linear and additively preference heterogeneity. Overall, participants expressed no separable, the indirect utility function of alternative i can be concerns with the questionnaire’s clarity, length, and cost expressed as follows: range. They emphasized the significance of recreational and V =  + S +  C (4) environmental conservation-related initiatives, aligning with i 0 c stakeholder input and literature findings. Some participants where β is a constant term, β and β are coefficients, S is 0 c expressed interest in specific activities aimed at forest sus- a matrix of respondents’ SDCs, and C is the cost. Median tainability and income generation, such as the commerciali- household WTP is calculated using the estimated coeffi- zation of forest-based goods and services, including food, cients as follows (Hanemann 1989): workshops, and tourism-related ventures. Survey distribution The questionnaire was intended to be distributed to every other The questionnaire was distributed through in-person inter- house to reduce self-selection bias. However, recent crime activities views by three interviewers who were trained to reduce and COVID19 resulted in lack of respondents willing to participate in an in-person interview. potential interviewer and information bias. The questionnaire 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences Table 1 Explanatory variables for the regression models Variables Definition Expected sign Gender Gender of respondent (1 = female, 0 = male) ? Age Age of respondent (21–90 years) − Education Education of respondent (0 = none, 5 = graduate school) + Income Respondent household income per month (1 = less than $500, 7 = $7000 or more) + Access Proximity to the forest entrance (walking distance) (1 = less than 5 min, 4 = more than 25 min) − Active Respondents who are currently active in environmental management initiatives (1 = yes, 0 = no) + Institutions Respondents who have worked or studied in institutions that address environmental conservation (1 = yes, 0 = no) + Volunteering Respondents who are willing to volunteer in forest management programs (1 = yes, 0 = no) + Awareness If respondents are currently active in environmental management initiatives, have studied or worked in institutions + addressing environmental conservation, or are willing to volunteer in forest management programs (1 = yes, 0 = no) According to the economic theory, we expect households + S WTP = (5) with higher incomes are willing to pay more for the bio- diversity project. Based on prior stated preference studies on local forest ecosystems (Tavárez and Elbakidze 2019; where S are the sample means of the SDCs, and β is the Tavárez et al. 2021), we expect a negative effect of age and cost coefficient. a positive effect of education on WTP for the biodiversity We used logit models to analyze contingent valuation data. project. We do not have an ex ante expectation for the effect In this model, the dependent variable is binary and indicates of gender. Residents who live near the forest may be more if the respondent votes in favor of the biodiversity project. willing to support the biodiversity project, as these residents The independent variables are the SDCs of individuals, obtain more benefits from the forest than those living far - such as age, gender, income and education. In addition, we ther away. All environmental awareness-related variables included three variables related to environmental awareness: are expected to have a positive effect on the support for the (1) whether respondents have experience working or studying biodiversity project. in institutions focused on environmental conservation, (2) We are interested in examining the factors that may pre- current involvement in environmental management initia- dict environmental awareness. Understanding such factors tives, and (3) willingness to volunteer in forest management may be useful for guiding the development of targeted strate- programs. These variables were included to capture respond- gies aimed at fostering environmental conservation within ents’ engagement and commitment towards environmental specific segments of the populations. Gaining insights conservation, providing valuable insights into their awareness into these factors can help identify effective approaches to and potential participation in conservation efforts. encourage and promote environmental awareness among We estimate three logit models. The first logit regression various groups. We employed a t-test to examine whether includes all the SCDs and environmental awareness-related younger and/or more educated respondents are more likely variables (model 1). The second model is a result of a back- to be involved in environmental management initiatives. ward stepwise procedure with the reported model that only includes significant variables (model 2). Finally, the third model combines all environmental awareness-related vari- Data ables into a single-binary variable (model 3). In the third model, the binary variable is one if the respondent answered A total of 208 respondents completed the questionnaire yes to either of the three awareness related questions. Con- between July 2022 and December 2022. Thirty-seven resi- trary to the first model that evaluates the effects separately, dents refused to take part in this study, resulting in a par- the third model allows us to evaluate whether any experience ticipation rate of 85%, which is reasonable for face-to-face with environmental conservation programs or intentions to interviews (Bateman et al. 2002). Unfortunately, a spike in volunteer affect preferences for biodiversity improvement. We criminal activities in the region, combined with lingering used the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) and the Bayes- concerns about the COVID19 pandemic, probably discour- ian Information Criterion (BIC) to assess relative model fit. aged participants from engaging in face-to-face interviews. Table 1 shows the variables used in the regression mod- This limited the size of our sample as many households did els, with corresponding definitions and expected signs. 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences Table 2 Socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of respond- ents Variables Mean Min Max Median Gender 0.57 (0.50) 0 1 1 Age 61.13 (14.78) 21 90 64 Education 3.31 (0.78) 2 5 3 Income 3.10 (1.65) 1 7 3 Access 3.20 (0.98) 1 4 4 Active 0.11 (0.31) 0 1 0 Institutions 0.05 (0.22) 0 1 0 Volunteering 0.38 (0.49) 0 1 0 Engagement 0.41 (0.49) 0 1 0 Standard deviation is in parenthesis Fig. 3 Survival function of the distribution of votes across cost amounts not open the door either because they were not home, were concerned about safety, or some other reason. the cost increased, which is consistent with the economic theory and prior contingent valuation studies (Lindhjem and Eighteen respondents provided answers that suggested protest responses. Among these, three expressed concerns Navrud 2011; Parsons and Myers 2016). The probability of paying $150 to support the biodiversity project was 7%. about the allocation of funds, sixteen stated that the gov- ernment should pay for the biodiversity project, and one Poor experimental design may result in outcomes where the probability of supporting a project does not decline at higher participant stated that the forest and its services should not be measured in monetary terms (a few participants stated cost amounts (Kerr 2000), posing doubts on the validity of results. In this regard, it is encouraging that in this study, the more than one protest response). Nineteen respondents, 9% of our sample, provided inconsistent answers across probability of supporting the project declines significantly at higher cost values. contingent valuation formats. However, the regression results and WTP estimates are invariant to exclusion of inconsistent and protest responses. Therefore, we present the results using all observations. The results from the Results and discussion reduced sample are available upon request. Table  2 shows SDCs and environmental awareness- Table 3 shows the results from the three logit models with the corresponding marginal effects. According to the pseudo related variables. Median age of respondent was 64 years, and 57% were female. Average respondent education was R , the models’ fits are comparable to prior contingent valua- tion studies (Kotchen and Reiling 2000; Tavárez and Elbak- a high school degree. Median household income was $1000–$2000/month, equivalent to $12,000–$24,000/year. idze 2021). The AIC and the BIC suggest that model 2, which is the reduced model following the backward stepwise The median age of residents in the Rio Hondo ward is 50.2, which is higher than the population of Mayagüez but procedure, fits the data best. Consistent with Fig.  3, the cost coefficient is negative and statistically significant, indicating lower than our sample. However, it is difficult to compare the median age of our sample with the Rio Hondo ward, that the probability of supporting the biodiversity project decreases as the cost increases. Income coefficient is not as minors are not considered in this study. The percentage of females and the median household income per year in significant. Similar results in terms of insignificant income coefficients have been reported in prior contingent valuation the population of Rio Hondo is 59% and $18,177/year, respectively (US Census 2021). In terms of environmental studies (Casey et al. 2006; Akram and Olmstead 2011). The insignificance of the income coefficient may be the result of awareness, 11% of respondents were currently active in environmental management initiatives, 5% of respondents some respondents misrepresenting their income, which may occur in face-to-face interviews, and/or wealthier respond- have studied or worked in institutions addressing environ- mental conservation, and 38% of respondents were willing ents preferring to invest in other more lucrative projects. We find that access to the urban forest is statistically sig - to volunteer for forest management programs. Figure 3 shows the distribution of votes in favor of the nificant at 10%. The negative sign of the coefficient indicates that the probability of supporting the biodiversity project proposed biodiversity project across bid values. The prob- ability of supporting the biodiversity project decreased as decreases as distance increases. The marginal effects suggest 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences Table 3 Logit models for the contingent valuation data Variables Coefficients for  model Marginal effects Coefficients for  model Marginal effects Coefficients for  model Marginal effects 1 2 3 Constant −0.474 (1.342) – 1.430 (0611) −0.331 (1.322) – *** *** *** *** *** *** Cost −0.031 (0.006) 0.005 (0.001) −0.031 (0.006) 0.005 (0.001) 0.032 (0.006) 0.005 (0.000) Gender 0.354 (0.350) 0.060 (0.058) – – 0.273 (0.345) 0.047 (0.058) Age 0.018 (0.014) 0.003 (0.002) – – 0.018 (0.013) 0.003 (0.002) Education 0.083 (0.271) 0.014 (0.046) – – 0.083 (0.270) 0.014 (0.046) Income 0.081 (0.114) 0.014 (0.019) – – 0.080 (0.114) 0.014 (0.019) * * * * * * Access −0.176 (0.180) −0.030 (0.030) −0.157 (0.165) −0.028 (0.029) −0.209 (0.176) −0.035 (0.030) Active 0.938 (0.632) 0.158 (0.104) – – – – Institutions 1.526 (1.057) 0.256 (0.175) – – – – *** *** *** *** Volunteering 1.052 (0.389) 0.177 (0.061) 1.021 (0.340) 0.180 (0.055) – – *** *** Awareness – – – 1.340 (0.381) 0.228 (0.057) N 208 208 208 Pseudo R 0.28 0.25 0.26 AIC 228.60 225.31 226.98 BIC 261.98 238.66 253.68 *** * Significant at 0.01, significant at 0.10 that for one unit increase in the proximity to the forest (see and Sofi 2021), which may be attributed to income differ - Likert scale in Table 3), the probability of supporting the ences across countries. However, the results are significantly biodiversity project decreased by 3%. This result is expected, smaller than prior studies on forest preservation in Puerto as residents near the forest can obtain more benefits than Rico (Tavárez and Elbakidze 2021). The proposed project residents living farther away. For example, the residents requires human intervention in the forest ecosystem to estab- near the forest can enjoy scenic beauty, lower temperatures, lish and maintain the nursery as opposed to forest preserva- cleaner air, bird watching, and noise reduction. tion programs that limit interventions in the forest. Some The coefficients for active engagement with environmen- respondents in our study may have discounted the value of tal initiatives and past education or work experience with forest alterations from interventions, which may affect other environmental institutions are insignificant, while the coef- ecosystem services provided by the forest. ficient for willingness to volunteer with environmental con - We estimated two additional models to examine robust- servation programs is significant and positive. This result ness of the results and WTP estimates with corresponding suggests that respondents who are willing to volunteer in confidence intervals (results not shown but available upon forest management programs are more likely to support the request). The first model includes multiple dummy codes biodiversity project. The marginal effect of volunteering for all categorical variables, and the second model uses indicates that the probability of supporting the biodiversity mid-points for the income and access variables. For the first project is 18% higher for this group of residents relative to model, only one level of the income variable is significant, those who are not willing or able to volunteer. The awareness and in the second model, the variables for midpoints are variable is positive and significant, indicating that involve- insignificant. According to the Akaike Information Crite- ment in environmental management initiatives is positively rion, Schwarz Criterion and Adjusted Pseudo-R Squared, correlated with preferences for improving biodiversity. The marginal effect indicates that participants who answered yes Table 4 Willingness to pay estimates across regression models to at least one of the three environmental awareness ques- Regression models Willingness to pay ($) 95% tions are 23% more likely to support the biodiversity project Confidence than those who did not. a intervals We estimate WTP for biodiversity improvement using Model 1 43.99 32.12–57.57 native plants and trees from a nursery in RHCF according Model 2 42.66 32.07–54.61 to Eq 5. The results show that households are willing to pay Model 3 42.88 32.49–55.35 $43/year for the biodiversity project in the RHCM (Table 4). The estimate is higher than prior stated preference studies a Confidence intervals are calculated following the Krinsky and Robb on biodiversity in other regions (Christie et al. 2006; Bhat procedure (1986) 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences which penalize the inclusion of a high number of param- While the objective of this study focused on eliciting eters included in the model, these two models do not provide WTP for improving biodiversity via plant and tree plant- improved model fit. Furthermore, the WTP estimates and ing in the local forest, the focus group participants also confidence intervals remain relatively unchanged. expressed interest in using the forest for economic growth The t-tests results suggest that residents involved in including employment opportunities and income from tour- environmental management initiatives are younger (mean ism and commercialization of local products. We do not = 55.53, SD = 1.55) than uninvolved residents (mean = address these benefits explicitly in this study. Instead, we 65.39, SD = 1.24; P < 0.01). This result is consistent with quantify WTP for biodiversity improvement program. The the growth in formal and informal environmental education estimated WTP may include the perceived values of poten- in recent decades. The results also suggest that residents tial pecuniary benefits from improved forest biodiversity. involved in environmental management initiatives are mar- ginally more educated (mean = 3.58, SD = 0.08) than resi- dents not involved in such initiatives (mean = 3.11, SD = Conclusions 0.07; P < 0.01). Educated residents are likely to possess a deeper understanding of the multifaceted contributions that Forests play a vital role in enhancing the quality of life in the forests make to society, including carbon sequestration and surrounding communities by offering a wide array of goods water purification. As a result, they are more inclined to and services, including carbon sequestration, air purifica- demonstrate heightened interest and engagement in envi- tion, and recreational opportunities. To support biodiversity ronmental initiatives compared to less educated individu- and ensure forest sustainability, nurseries for native plants als. This correlation between education and environmental and trees can be an effective tool. However, establishing and awareness suggests that promoting educational opportunities maintaining such projects can be costly. As a result, such can be useful for cultivating a broader understanding of the projects are unlikely to be pursued without first documenting value of forests and for nurturing a commitment to environ- that potential benefits can outweigh the costs. mental conservation. The benefits of such programs depend on the preferences The estimated WTP values can be used to compare over- of local residents. Environmental involvement and educa- all costs and benefits of growing native plants and trees in tion play significant roles in shaping these preferences and the RHCM nursery and transplanting them to other forests promoting biodiversity and conservation initiatives. In this in the area. The Rio Hondo ward of Mayagüez includes 3047 study, we used a contingent valuation method to estimate residents and 1172 households (2.6 persons per household; households’ WTP for increasing biodiversity through the US Census 2021). Seventy-four percent of respondents in enrichment planting of native plants and trees sourced from this study were willing to pay for the biodiversity project. a local forest nursery. Additionally, we assessed the influ- By extrapolating these figures, 867 of households are will- ence of environmental awareness on residents’ support for ing to pay for the project. Therefore, the benefits for the the biodiversity project. region’s population over a period of 5 years at 6% discount The results show that households in the Rio Hondo ward rate is $166,000. It is important to note that this estimate is (Puerto Rico) are willing to pay $43/year to enhance the based on the assumption that the decisions of some of the RHCF biodiversity through establishing a nursery for native residents to not participate in the survey are unrelated to the plants and trees and transplanting them throughout the for- topic of the survey. Thirty-seven individuals declined to talk est. These WTP estimates are considerably smaller than to the interviewers. We assume that they refused to engage estimates of WTP for forest preservation in Puerto Rico with the interviewers for reasons such as safety rather than (Tavárez and Elbakidze 2021). However, the scope of our biodiversity preferences. Safety could have been a concern study is more narrowly focused on biodiversity as opposed for some of the residents as the timing of the interview over- to forest conservation broadly. Therefore, a lower WTP in lapped with heightened crime occurences in the region and this study can be expected. Another reason for a lower WTP COVID19. in this study can be that the proposed biodiversity project We obtained costs of establishing and maintaining the in the RHCF requires human intervention to establish and nursery and transplanting the trees from two private firms in maintain the nursery. Some respondents may have viewed the western Puerto Rico with experience in nursery develop- this as contrary to preservation initiatives that restrict human ment. The costs were estimated at $95,000 over a period of 5 interventions. Such respondents may have discounted the years at 6% discount rate. Thus, projected benefits are 75% value of nursery-based biodiversity support strategy. higher than the costs of the biodiversity project, indicating Tavarez and Elbakidze (2021) evaluated the effect of that the project is economically viable. However, the costs environmental dispositions on urban forest valuation. We ($39,150) are greater than the benefits ($37,281) in the first contribute to their research by exploring three elements of year of the project. environmental disposition to evaluate resident preferences 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences for increasing biodiversity. In particular, we consider prior References work experience or education in environmental conserva- Abelleira Martínez OJ (2017) El huracán María en Añasco y sus tion-related agencies, current involvement in environmental efectos en sistemas sociales-ecológicos del norte y oeste de organizations, and willingness to volunteer in environmental Puerto Rico. Acta Científica 31:60–78 sustainability projects. We found that willingness to volun- Abelleira Martínez OJ (2018) Fauna del Bosque Comunitario de teer in forest management and overall environmental aware- Rio Hondo. Pages 24-28. In: Candelaria IR, Méndez CL, Anto- nio JRS, Santiago DG, Vélez SC, Méndez AP, Martyínez OJA, ness (engagement in at least one of the three elements) are Cartagena GR (eds) Plan de Co-Manejo del Bosque Comuni- correlated with willingness to support biodiversity using tario de Río Hondo en Mayagüez, Puerto Rico: Empresa Comu- native plants and trees from a nursery. Additionally, we nitaria con Propósito Social, Ambiental, Cultural y Recreativo. found that age and education are not correlated with WTP Servicio de Extensión Agrícola, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayagüez for the nursery-based biodiversity program but are correlated Abelleira Martínez OJ (2019) Geographic distribution and spatial with environmental awareness. This suggests that to encour- attributes of African tulip tree forests in north-central Puerto age forest management, policy makers can use education and Rico: implications for social-ecological resilience. J Agri Univ outreach activities to grow environmental awareness. Puerto Rico 103:1–25. https:// doi. org/ 10. 46429/ jaupr. v103i1. This study used data collected from 208 survey partici- Ajzen I, Brown TC, Rosenthal LH (1996) Information bias in con- pants. Although prior studies have conducted contingent val- tingent valuation: effects of personal relevance, quality of infor - uation studies with fewer observations (Kotchen and Reiling mation, and motivational orientation. J Environ Econ Manag 2000; Christie et al. 2006; Akram and Olmstead 2011), this 30(1):43–57 Akram AA, Olmstead SM (2011) The value of household water service figure may be considered relatively low. Additional studies quality in Lahore, Pakistan. Environ Resour Econ 49:173–198. may be needed to extend our results to a larger sample and https:// doi. org/ 10. 1007/ s10640- 010- 9429-7 geographic region. Báez Rivera G, Cruz Aguilar RE, Pérez Méndez A, Rivera San Antonio J, Túa Ayala GZ, Keyser T, Abelleira Martínez OJ (2021) Prelimi- Acknowledgements This work was supported by the USDA-NIFA nary estimate of the immediate effects of Hurricane María on the McIntire-Stennis, project 1026720 and WVA00759. We thank Victor tree structure and species composition of novel forests in the moist González for organizing focus groups meetings and forest visits. We lowlands of Puerto Rico. Acta Científica 32:34–100 thank Sherly Rivera, Juan Matías, and Phillip Bonneaux, three gradu- Barrio M, Loureiro ML (2010) A meta-analysis of contingent valuation ate students from the University of Puerto Rico, for assistance with the forest studies. Ecol Econ 69:1023–1030. https://doi. or g/10. 1016/j. focus groups and data collection. ecole con. 2009. 11. 016 Bartczak A (2015) The role of social and environmental attitudes in Author contribution HT and OA contributed to the conception and non-market valuation: an application to the Białowieża Forest. design of the study. Data analysis was performed by HT and LE. The Forest Policy Econ 50:357–365 first draft of the manuscript was written by HT and OA and revised by Bateman IJ, Carson RT, Day B, Hanemann WM, Hanley N, Hett T, LE. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript. Jones- Lee M, Loomes G, Mourato S, Ozdemiroglu E, Pearce DW, Sugden R, Swanson S (2002) Economic valuation with stated Data availability The dataset used for this study is available upon preference techniques: a manual. Edward Elgar, Massachusetts, request to the corresponding author. USA Bhat MY, Sofi AA (2021) Willingness to pay for biodiversity conserva - Declarations tion in Dachigam National Park. India J Nat Conserv 62:126022. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1016/j. jnc. 2021. 126022 Ethics approval This study was approved by the Institutional Review Biénabe E, Hearne RR (2006) Public preferences for biodiversity con- Board on Human Subjects (no. 2021040026) of the University of servation and scenic beauty within a framework of environmental Puerto Rico at Mayagüez in April 2021. services payments. Forest Policy Econ 9:335–348. https://doi. or g/ 10. 1016/j. forpol. 2005. 10. 002 Competing interests The authors declare no competing interests. Carlsson F, Frykblom P, Lagerkvist CJ (2005) Using cheap talk as a test of validity in choice experiments. Econ Lett 89(2):147–152. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1016/j. econl et. 2005. 03. 010 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attri- Casey JF, Kahn JR, Rivas A (2006) Willingness to pay for improved bution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adapta- water service in Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil. Ecol Econ 58:365– tion, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long 372. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1016/j. ecole con. 2005. 07. 016 as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, Champ PA, Boyle KJ, Brown TC (2003) A primer on nonmarket valu- provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes ation. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Norwell MA were made. The images or other third party material in this article are Chazdon RL, Whitmore TC (eds) (2001) Foundations of tropical forest included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated biology: classic papers with commentaries. University of Chicago otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in Press the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not Christie M, Hanley N, Warren J, Murphy K, Wright R, Hyde T (2006) permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will Valuing the diversity of biodiversity. Ecol Econ 58:304–317. need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a https:// doi. org/ 10. 1016/j. ecole con. 2005. 07. 034 copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Connell JH (1978) Diversity in tropical rain forests and coral reefs. Science 199:1302–1310. h t t p s : / / d o i . o r g / 1 0 . 1 1 2 6 / s c i e n c e . 1 9 9 . 4335. 1302 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences Cruz Aguilar R (2022) Growth and survival of juvenile trees of pri- Lugo AE (2008) Visible and invisible effects of hurricanes on forest mary forest species in enrichment plantings in novel forests of ecosystems: an international review. Austral Ecol 33(4):368–398. north-western Puerto Rico. Master’s Thesis. University of Puerto https:// doi. org/ 10. 1111/j. 1442- 9993. 2008. 01894.x Rico, Mayagüez Lugo AE (2012) Social silviculture: a new paradigm in the search for Cummings RG, Taylor LO (1999) Unbiased value estimates for envi- sustainable land conservation in the tropics? Bois et Forêts des ronmental goods: a cheap talk design for the contingent valuation Tropiques 314:3–5 method. Am Econ Rev 89(3):649–665. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1257/ Lugo AE, Carlo TA, Wunderle JM (2012) Natural mixing of species: aer. 89.3. 649 novel plant-animal communities on Caribbean islands. Anim Do TN, Bennett J (2009) Estimating wetland biodiversity values: a Conserv 15(3):233–241. https:// doi. or g/ 10. 1111/j. 1469- 1795. choice modelling application in Vietnam’s Mekong River Delta. 2012. 00523.x Environ Dev Econ 14(2):163–186 Lugo AE (2018) Social-ecological-technological effects of hurricane Engström G, Gren A (2017) Capturing the value of green space in urban María on Puerto Rico: planning for resilience under extreme parks in a sustainable urban planning and design context: pros and events. Springer cons of hedonic pricing. Ecol Soc 22(2):21. https:// doi. org/ 10. 5751/ Lugo AE, Winchell KM, Carlo TA (2018) Novelty in ecosystems. ES- 09365- 220221 In: DellaSala DA, Goldstein MI (eds) The Encyclopedia of the Francis JK, Lowe CA (2000) Silvics of native and exotic trees of Puerto Anthropocene, vol 3. Elsevier, Oxford, pp 259–271 Rico and the Caribbean islands. USDA For Serv Gen Tech Rep Lugo AE, Abelleira Martínez OJ, Medina E, Aymard G, Heartsill- IITF-15. https:// doi. org/ 10. 2737/ IITF- GTR- 15 Scalley T (2020) Novelty in the tropical forests of the 21st century. Fuentes-Ramírez RR (2014) An approximation of Puerto Rico’s human Adv Ecol Res 62:53–116. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1016/ bs. aecr. 2020. development index. Caribb Stud 42(1):253–258. https:// doi.or g/ 01. 008 10. 1353/ crb. 2014. 0010 McFadden D (1974) Conditional logit analysis of qualitative choice Geoghegan J, Lynch L, Bucholtz S (2003) Capitalization of open behavior. In: Zarembka P (ed) Frontiers in Econometrics. Aca- spaces into housing values and the residential property tax reve- demic Press, Nueva York nue impacts of agricultural easement programs. Agri Resour Econ MEA (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment) (2005) Ecosystems and Rev 32(1):33–45. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1017/ s1068 28050 00024 83 human well-being: synthesis. Island Press, Washington D.C. Hanemann M (1984) Welfare evaluations in contingent valuation Min S, Bai J, Huang J, Waibel H (2018) Willingness of smallholder experiments with discrete responses data. Am J Agric Econ rubber farmers to participate in ecosystem protection: effects of 66(3):332–341. https:// doi. org/ 10. 2307/ 12408 00 household wealth and environmental awareness. Forest Policy Hanemann M (1989) Welfare evaluations in contingent valuation Econ 87:70–84 experiments with discrete responses data: reply. Am J Agric Econ Mori A, Lertzman KP, Gustafsson L (2017) Biodiversity and ecosys- 71(4):1057–1061. https:// doi. org/ 10. 2307/ 12426 85 tem services in forest ecosystems: a research agenda for applied Hobbs RJ, Higgs ES, Hall CM (2013) Novel ecosystems: intervening forest ecology. J Appl Ecol 54(1):12–27. https://doi. or g/10. 1111/ in the new ecological world order. Wiley-Blackwell, UK1365- 2664. 12669 Jacobsen JB, Hanley N (2009) Are there income effects on global Parsons GR, Myers KH (2016) Fat tails and truncated bids in contin- willingness to pay for biodiversity conservation? Environ Resour gent valuation: an application to an endangered shorebird species. Econ 43:137–160 Ecol Econ 129:210–219. https://doi. or g/10. 1016/j. ecole con. 2016. Japelj A, Mavsar R, Hodges DG, Kovač M, Juvancic L (2016) Latent 06. 010 preferences of residents regarding an urban forest recreation set- Pattanayak SK, Butry DT (2005) Spatial complementarity of forests ting in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Forest Policy Econ 71:71–79. https:// and farms: accounting for ecosystem services. Am J Agric Econ doi. org/ 10. 1016/j. forpol. 2015. 10. 003 87(4):995–1008. h tt ps :/ / do i. o r g / 1 0. 1 111 / j. 1 4 67 - 8 276 . 2 0 05 . Johnston RJ, Boyle KJ, Adamowicz WL, Bennett J, Brouwer R, Cam- 00783.x eron TA, Hanemann WM, Hanley N, Ryan M, Scarpa R, Tou- Planning Board PR (2018) Economic Report to the Governor (2017). rangeau R, Vossler CA (2017) Contemporary guidance for stated Puerto Rico Planning Board preference studies. J Assoc Environ Resour Econ 4(2):319–405. Redford KH, Richter B (1999) Conservation of biodiversity in a world https:// doi. org/ 10. 1086/ 691697 of use. Conserv Biol 13(6):1246–1256. https://doi. or g/10. 1046/j. Kerr GN (2000) Dichotomous choice contingent valuation probability 1523- 1739. 1999. 97463.x distributions. Aust J Agric Resour Econ 44(2):233–252. https:// Ricketts TH, Daily GC, Ehrlich PR, Michener CD (2004) Economic doi. org/ 10. 1111/ 1467- 8489. 00109 value of tropical forest to coffee production. Proc Natl Acad Sci Kotchen MJ, Reiling SD (2000) Environmental attitudes, motivations, U S A 101(34):12579–12582. https://doi. or g/10. 1073/ pnas. 04051 and contingent valuation of nonuse values: a case study involving 47101 endangered species. Ecol Econ 32(1):93–107. https:// doi. org/ 10. Ricklefs R (2001) The economy of nature, 5th edn. W.H. Freeman and 1016/ s0921- 8009(99) 00069-5 Co, New York, p 550 Lavorel S, Storkey J, Bardgett RD, De Bello F, Berg MP, Roux XL, Rivera-Acosta KA (2018) Disposición a pagar por la conservación del Moretti M, Mulder C, Pakeman RJ, Diaz S, Harrington R (2013) bosque urbano en la finca Montaña, Aguadilla. Master’s Thesis. A novel framework for linking functional diversity of plants with University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, PR other trophic levels for the quantification of ecosystem services. J Rivera San Antonio J (2021) Structure and species composition of the Veg Sci 24(5):942–948. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1111/ jvs. 12083 Río Hondo Community Forest in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, before Lindhjem H, Navrud S (2011) Are internet surveys an alternative and after Hurricane María: implications for social-ecological to face-to-face interviews in contingent valuation? Ecol Econ resilience. Master’s Thesis. University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez 70:1628–1637. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1016/j. ecole con. 2011. 04. 002 Rivera San Antonio J, Abelleira Martínez OJ (2022) Response capacity Long D, West GH, Nayga RM (2021) Consumer willingness-to-pay of stakeholders in the forestry sector to the immediate effects of for restaurant surcharges to reduce carbon emissions: default and hurricane María: implications for community forest management. information effects. Agri Resour Econ Rev 50(2):338–366 Acta Científica 33:33–45 Loureiro ML, Lotade J (2005) Interviewer effects on the valuation of Rodríguez-Candelaria I, López-Méndez C, Rivera-Sanantonio J, García-Santiago D, Crespo-Vélez S, Pérez-Méndez A, Abelleira- goods with ethical and environmental attributes. Environ Resour Martínez O, Ramos-Cartagenas G (2018) Plan de co-manejo del Econ 30:49–72. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1007/ s10640- 004- 1149-4 1 3 Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences Bosque Comunitario de Río Hondo en Mayagüez, Puerto Rico: enrichment planting success before and after Hurricane María. Bra- Empresa Comunitaria con Propósito Social, Ambiental, Cultural zilian. J For Res 39(768):e201902043 y Recreativo. Management Plan. US Forest Service Wadsworth FH (1950) Notes on the climax forests of Puerto Rico and Tavárez H, Elbakidze L (2019) Valuing recreational enhancements in their destruction and conservation prior to 1900. Caribbean For- the San Patricio Urban Forest of Puerto Rico: a choice experi- ester 11:38–46 ment approach. Forest Policy Econ 109:102004. https:// doi. org/ Weaver PL, Gould WA (2013) Forest vegetation along environmental 10. 1016/j. forpol. 2019. 102004 gradients in northeastern Puerto Rico. In: González G, Willig Tavárez H, Elbakidze L, Abelleira-Martínez OJ, Ramos-Bendaña MR, Waide RB (eds) Ecological gradient analyses in a tropical Z, Bosque-Pérez NA (2021) Willingness to pay for gray and landscape, Ecological Bulletins 54. Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, green interventions to augment water supply: a case study in NJ, pp 43–66 rural Costa Rica. Environ Manag. https:// doi. or g/ 10. 1007/ s00267- 021- 01476-9 Publisher’s Note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to Tavárez H, Elbakidze L (2021) Urban forests valuation and environ- jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. mental disposition: the case of Puerto Rico. Forest Policy Econ 131:102572. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1016/j. forpol. 2021. 102572 Túa Ayala GZ, Abelleira Martínez OJ (2019) Interventions for agro- forestry and species restoration in novel forests of Puerto Rico: 1 3

Journal

Journal of Environmental Studies and SciencesSpringer Journals

Published: Mar 1, 2024

Keywords: Biodiversity; Contingent valuation; Environmental awareness; Puerto Rico; Willingness to pay

There are no references for this article.