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Residents Willingness to Pay for Forest Ecosystem Services Based on Forest Ownership Classification in South Korea

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Son, Young-Gyun; Lee, Yohan; Jo, Jang-Hwan

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Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)
Forests, Vol.15 No.3, p. 551
South Korea is one of the countries with a significant proportion of its national territory covered by forests. However, it remains unclear what management strategies for providing forest ecosystem services are preferred by the residents. This study explores South Korean residents preferences for managing local forest ecosystem services, with a focus on how these preferences vary by forest ownership. Using the choice experiment method, this research identified residents willingness to pay for seven key local forest ecosystem services, along with a tax measure. The findings indicate a strong preference for biodiversity as the primary ecosystem service in both national/public and private forests, with residents willing to pay an average of KRW 28,370 (USD 21.80) per household per year and KRW 31,670 (USD 24.34) per household per year, respectively, for its enhancement. Preferences varied depending on forest ownership, with noticeable differences in perceptions of services like water supply, non-timber forest product supply, carbon storage, and recreation. Based on forest ownership, these variations in perceptions highlight the importance of managing ecosystem services in line with national/public forests and private forests, which significantly influences residents preferences. The study emphasizes the necessity of formulating ecosystem service management policies that account for the regions unique natural resource characteristics, aiming to maximize ecological benefits for the local population.
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