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Assessing the benefit of the agroecosystem services: Lithuanian preferences using a latent class approach

Novikova, Anastasija, Rocchi, Lucia, Vitunskienė, Vlada
Land use policy 2017 v.68 pp. 277-286
European Union, agri-environmental policy, agroecosystems, ecosystem services, environmental protection, farmers, landscapes, models, willingness to pay, Lithuania
This study represents a first analysis of citizens’ willingness to pay (WTP) for agroecosystem services in a Baltic country (Lithuania). Since it is part of the European Union, Lithuania applied environmental agriculture schemes to support the production of agroecosystem services by farmers. Therefore, understanding the demand of such services may help policy makers to allocate funds. This study revealed that Lithuanian residents are concerned about environmental problems that may be caused by agriculture. Moreover, while the provision of agroecosystem services is demanded, citizens show very different tastes concerning these services. The application of a latent class model highlights three groups of citizens with different tastes and levels of WTP. Among the ecosystem services tested, the landscape provisions show the highest level of heterogeneity across the class. This study’s findings provide quantitative information concerning the demand for improvements in agroecosystem services through agri-environmental protection programmes. The obtained data supports the conclusion that choice experiments are a reliable tool to analyse consumers’ preferences related to environmental protection in Lithuania.