Nielsen-Pincus, Max; Sussman, Patricia; Bennett, Drew E.; Gosnell, Hannah; Parker, Robert. 2017. The Influence of Place on the Willingness to Pay for Ecosystem Services. Society & Natural Resources. 30(12): 1423-1441. doi: 10.1080/08941920.2017.1347976
Sense of place, including an individual?s attitudes toward specific geographic settings, is generally predicted to influence willingness to engage in place-protective behaviors. Relatively little research, however, has empirically examined the influence of people?s attitudes toward a place on their willingness to pay for environmental protection. Using the example of a payment for ecosystem services (PES) initiative in the McKenzie River watershed, Oregon, USA, we found that place attitudes were a significant predictor of respondents? willingness to pay for a program designed to benefit drinking water quality. These results suggest that connecting conservation actions to landscapes that are meaningful to people may increase their financial support for PES and other conservation programs. While program managers have little or no influence over stakeholders? political ideology, gender, or income, managers may be able to influence prospective PES buyers? awareness and attitudes through targeted communications, thereby potentially increasing support for place-based conservation efforts.
KEYWORDS: Conservation finance; contingent valuation; incentives; payments for ecosystem services; place attitudes; political ideology; sense of place; watershed services; WTP