Does policy process influence public values for forest-water resource protection in Florida? Academic Article


  • Ecological Economics


  • Forest ecosystems play a critical role in protecting water resources; yet the neoclassical stated preference assumption is that willingness-to-pay (WTP) for forest conservation is solely a function of the ecosystem services provided by these lands. Thus, little attention has been paid to the importance of policy processes as potentially influential drivers of WTP. Using a statewide web-based survey in Florida US and a relatively novel valuation approach (i.e., Best-Worst Choice), we examine public preferences for clean water benefits (e.g., recreation, drinking water resources) as well as common conservation policy processes, such as land acquisition and financial assistance for landowners. We found forest/water protection programs provide an annual average of $154-230 million in clean water benefits, and a significant portion of that value was associated with the policy process. Attitudes and beliefs about whom forests should be managed for, and who should manage forests, were also found to influence WTP behaviors. We conclude that including policy process information in the valuation survey allows respondents to better determine changes in utility among realistic policy alternatives. Our findings have important implications for WTP estimation techniques and public participation in environmental policy design.

publication date

  • 2016-1-1


  • 129


  • Conservation policy
  • Drinking water
  • Ecosystem
  • Ecosystem services
  • Environmental policy
  • Forest conservation
  • Policy design
  • Policy process
  • Public participation
  • Public preferences
  • Public value
  • Recreation
  • Stated preference
  • Water
  • Water resources
  • Web-based
  • Willingness-to-pay
  • conservation policy
  • drinking water
  • ecosystem service
  • environmental policy
  • financial assistance
  • forest conservation
  • forest ecosystem
  • forest resource
  • land
  • landowner
  • policy
  • programme
  • public
  • public participation
  • recreation
  • valuation
  • water
  • water protection
  • water resource
  • willingness to pay

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0921-8009

number of pages

  • 9

start page

  • 122

end page

  • 131