The preferences of rural communities for improvements in ecosystem services within a watershed, such as the factors that determine the valuation of those services, have not been studied sufficiently in developing countries. By administering a questionnaire, the value placed on ecosystem services by farmers in the Aconcagua River watershed in central Chile was determined using a choice experiment method. Environmental services attributes related to the condition of the river's flora and fauna, the security of water availability for irrigation, the protection of water quality, and the watershed's water storage capacity were studied. Attitudinal and socio-economic factors that determine farmers' Willingness to Pay (WTP) for improvements that protect ecosystem services were also identified. All the attributes considered in the study were found to be significant in terms of WTP for the implementation of policies to improve the current situation. Younger farmers with fewer years of education and lower incomes and who leased the fields they worked were less willing to pay for improvements to protect ecosystem services. The interviewees who stated they had insufficient funds to pay, little information to make decisions and felt the payment was unfair were also more reluctant to pay for environmental improvements. This study contributes to the understanding of demographic and attitudinal variables in interviewee preferences for improving the protection of watersheds.
|Translated title of the contribution||Economic valuation of ecosystem services in the Aconcagua River watershed of Chile|
|Number of pages||27|
|Journal||Tecnologia y Ciencias del Agua|
|State||Published - 1 Mar 2018|