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Ecological policy benefit valuation based on public feedback: Forest ecosystem services in Wuyishan nature reserve, China

Chang, Yaxuan, Zou, Taohong, Yoshino, Kunihiko, Luo, Shezhou, Zhou, Shungui
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.673 pp. 622-630
bioinformatics, conservation areas, econometrics, economic impact, economic valuation, ecosystem services, financial economics, forest ecosystems, forests, issues and policy, land use change, local government, markets, profits and margins, tea, China
The spontaneous expansion of tea cultivation has led to the degradation of forest ecosystem services in the Wuyishan national nature reserve (WNNR). In 2008, the local government put forward the policy of “returning tea to forests” (RTTF) to protect the forest ecosystem. However, in order to measure its effects over the past ten years, it is necessary to accurately quantify the economic benefits of this ecological policy. This study tracked the land use changes in WNNR during the last 17 years and estimated the ecosystem service value caused by the RTTF policy. We used virtual market methods to convert different types of public feedback into a unified monetary value, and estimated the economic benefits of RTTF by combining the land use changes. Results showed that the added value of forest ecosystem services not only compensated for the loss of tea profits, but also brought about remarkable economic benefits (approximately US$140 million). Through the combination of ecological changes and economic benefits, we proposed a future direction of the RTTF policy adjustment. More broadly, we provided a method to quantify economic effects (or economic losses) from the perspective of public feedback on the basis of ecological changes. This attempt has contributed to the solving of econometric problems related to ecological policy by combining bioinformatics with ecological economics.