Social demand for multiple benefits provided by Aleppo pine forest management in Catalonia, Spain

This paper estimates the social demand for key benefits provided by Aleppo pine forests in Catalonia that can be enhanced by management. These so-called externalities are the side effects of forest management on citizens' welfare and can be either positive or negative. The externalities addressed are: biodiversity (measured as the number of tree species), accessibility for practicing recreational activities, CO2 sequestration and annual burned area by wildfires. By the use of a choice experiment, an economic valuation method, we estimate in a joint manner people's preferences for these externalities and show that there is a social demand for their enhanced provision. Based on these estimates, we construct three hypothetical scenarios reflecting the range of likely outcomes of different management strategies and calculate the social demand for these scenarios. Results show that the highest gains in terms of social benefits are obtained under a scenario that minimizes the burned area (2044.23 a,notsign/ha year). Our estimates show that an increase in the investment in forest management is in line with the social demand for forest benefits and the social support that exists for a related cost increase for inhabitants.