Public preferences for co-benefits of riparian buffer strips in Denmark: An economic valuation study

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Kennet Christian Uggeldahl, Søren Bøye Olsen

Riparian buffer strips are an extensively used measure to combat the transfer of nutrients and sediment into waterbodies. However, benefits from riparian buffer strips are not limited to improvements in the aquatic environment, as buffer strips per se can provide various societal co-benefits, such as recreational and aesthetic benefits, to name a few. The values of these co-benefits are likely to depend on the design and physical features of the buffer strips. In this paper, we use a stated choice experiment survey to assess the values of different characteristics of riparian buffer strips in Denmark. Comparing different regions of Denmark, we find that public preferences for buffer strip characteristics are largely homogenous across geographical regions, but heterogeneous within the regions. Thus, differentiating the buffer strip regulation between regions to maximize the value of the co-benefits does not lead to a large difference in welfare, compared to a uniform national regulation. However, differentiation at a more localized geographical level could potentially improve societal welfare. Overall, the results show that buffer strips can provide large societal co-benefits in addition to the benefits of improving water quality. The results may provide important information for optimizing the future design and management of buffer strips to ensure that all types of societal welfare impacts are taken into account.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Pages (from-to)342-351
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

ID: 218089262