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A conjoint analysis of landholder preferences for reward-based land-management contracts in Kapingazi watershed, Eastern Mount Kenya

Balana, Bedru Babulo, Yatich, Thomas, Mäkelä, Miika
Journal of environmental management 2011 v.92 no.10 pp. 2634-2646
land use change, questionnaires, probability, attitudes and opinions, rivers, focus groups, ecosystem services, irrigation, models, developing countries, logit analysis, surveys, watersheds, deforestation, agricultural management, decision making, Kenya
Unsustainable land-use decisions and agricultural practices have become the key drivers of deteriorating watershed services in developing countries. However, landholders may have little or no incentives to take these impacts into account in their decision-making process. In recent years, reward-based provision of environmental services has emerged as an important market-based incentive for motivating landholders to adopt environmentally friendly land-use changes and agricultural practices. In this regard, for instance, the Pro-Poor Rewards for Environmental Services in Africa (PRESA) project has emerged as a large network to support and facilitate reward mechanisms in Africa. However, in many African rural settings, little is known about landholder attitudes and preferences related to the alternative land-management schemes. Using locally identified sets of six key land-management attributes, this paper applies conjoint methods to evaluate landholder preferences towards alternative land-management schemes aimed at enhancing the provision of watershed services in the River Kapingazi catchment in central Kenya. Data were collected from primary sources through focus groups and a questionnaire based conjoint survey. Three conjoint models were used; a traditional conjoint ratings model, a binary logit model, and an ordered logit model. Results from the focus groups indicated that shortage of water for both domestic use and irrigation was perceived as the most acute environmental problem in the area. Deforestation, poor river bank management and agricultural practices were identified as the major causes of the problem. Results from conjoint models show that the three principal attributes influencing landholder’s ratings and probability of adopting the proposed land management options were ‘size of land area to be committed’, ‘length of contract period’, and ‘granting or prohibiting rights to harvest environmental products from the committed land’. Thus, these attributes should be the focal points in designing land-management contract for watershed services in the study area.