Environmental benefits of the Aleppo pine for Catalan society

A representative sample of 410 Catalans were surveyed over the summer of 2011. Surveyed participants were asked about their preferences about four ecosystem services provided by Aleppo pine forests that could be enhanced through active management: (i) diversity of tree species); (ii) accessibility of Aleppo pine forests for leisure activities; (iii) carbon stored ; (iv) burnt area due to forest fires. Respondents had to choose between the current situation and two alternatives which could be achieved through active management. To estimate the value of the considered ecosystem services, each of the alternatives had an associated cost that the respondents would have to pay in the form of increased regional taxes..

The analysis shows that social preferences for the ecosystem services differ among the population and that people’s choices can be accommodated in two groups. Almost 70% of Catalans preferred any of the alternatives which would improve the management of the pine forests. This group considered that all the valued ecosystem services are beneficial and that the diversity of tree species is the most important. The second group (about 30% of the population) only regarded tree species diversity as important, but not the other services. People in this group also preferred to retain the current situation rather than opting for changes.

Results also show that people with high incomes (over 1,600 EURO/month) and not living in the metropolitan area are more likely to belong to the first group.

This study shows the Catalan population’s preferences for active management of Aleppo pine forest. The results can be useful in justifying the need to support public investments into active management of Aleppo pine forests in Catalonia, and also for raising awareness among the population about the benefits provided by forests.

fp7_image_125.jpg : 24.4326171875KbThis study was a collaboration between EFIMED and the Forest Sciences Centre of Catalonia (CTFC) in the frame of the NEWFOREX project, financed through the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme

Varela, E., Mavsar, R., Gorriz, E., Prokofieva, I. (2013)
Beneficis ambientals del pi blanc per a la societat catalana
Silvicultura No. 67, pp20-22

More information: Elsa Varela, elsa.varela (at) efi.int

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