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|Authors: ||Blasi, Filippo|
|Internal Tutor: ||SAROGLIA, MARCO|
|Tutor: ||CAVALLETTI, BARBARA|
JONA LASINIO, GIOVANNA
|Title: ||The benefits of biodiversity conservation through the Italian Marine Protected Areas: application of a Choice experiment in Portofino for the monetary valuation of three ecosystem services.|
|Abstract: ||The biodiversity of the seas and oceans is gradually declining due to the exploitation of resources, habitat destruction, pollution, the introduction of alien species, and climate change and related perturbations of ocean biogeochemistry. In this context, it has been necessary over time to establish areas of protected sea in order to conserve marine biodiversity and ecosystem services that it provides.
In Italy have been established, to date, 27 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and 2 Underwater Parks, with the aim to preserve and conserve endangered species, critical habitats, fish stocks, the landscape features, cultural biodiversity, and historical and archeological heritage.
However, the funds allocated by the government to the Italian MPAs were progressively reduced from 2008 to 2015.
In this study, we aim to estimate the economic value of changes in ecosystem services from the political scenario in which the annual funding from the State for the conservation of marine biodiversity through the Italian MPAs remains current, to the political scenario in which the funds are increased to allow for more conservation. To meet this aim, we implemented a Choice experiment at the Portofino Marine Protected Area. In our research we accompanied the choice set by an additional questionnaire designed to obtain information to make supplementary considerations on ecosystem services. Questionnaires were put to a sample of 150 people, interviewed face-to-face at the commune of Portofino (a municipality included in the Marine Protected Area of Portofino, Liguria, Italy) during the summer of 2014.
We carried out the research at the Portofino MPA, which is one of the 27 Italian Marine Protected Areas, because the director gave us the availability to perform the study in the territory and provided us with information about the management of the MPA.
We have estimated the implicit prices of the three ecosystem services (Climate regulation, Aesthetic benefits, Food) on the basis of the coefficients obtained using a multinomial logit model where the dependent variable is represented by the choice of respondents (Option A, Option B or Status quo in the choice set), and the independent variables are the ecosystem services and the attribute Cost of Choice experiment; the willingness to pay was estimated by dividing the coefficients of the attributes of the services with the coefficient of the attribute Cost.
Implicit prices are interpreted as the incremental willingness to pay (WTP), through an increase in a national tax for Italian Marine Protected Areas per annum per household, for a change in any of the ecosystem services. Our results show that people is willing to pay € 9.77 per household per year for an increase of the ecosystem service Climate regulation, through greater protection of Posidonia oceanica meadows by the Italian Marine Protected Areas, in comparison to have a level of the ecosystem service that is maintained at the current level. For the ecosystem service Aesthetic benefits provided by the coralligenous, the WTP is € 10.06 per household per year. For the ecosystem service Food, the WTP is € 9.87 per household per year. The total WTP of each family for an increase in the flow of the three ecosystem services through the Italian MPAs is 29.7 euro per household per year. These values are related to changes in the flow of ecosystem services from the political scenario in which the annual funding from the State for the conservation of marine biodiversity through the Italian MPAs remains current, to the political scenario in which the funds are increased to allow for more conservation.
If we consider that from 2008 to present the budget of the Ministry of the Environment with regard to the MPAs has been reduced by 50% (source: Italian Ministry of the Environment, Land and Sea), our research indicates that it is beneficial and desirable a reversal of the trend towards an increase in public funding for Italian MPAs.
Additional applications of Choice experiment for the valuation of ecosystem services provided by Italian MPAs, which take the conclusions and considerations of our study into account, might extent the scope of the research. In particular, it is useful to apply the method to the other Italian MPAs and to a selected sample of the Italian population representative with regard to the socio-demographic.|
|Keywords: ||Marine parks, marine ecology, economic analysis, Mediterranean sea|
|Subject MIUR : ||AGR/20 ZOOCOLTURE|
|Issue Date: ||2015|
|Doctoral course: ||Analisi, Protezione e Gestione delle Biodiversità|
|Academic cycle: ||28|
|Publisher: ||Università degli Studi dell'Insubria|
|Citation: ||Blasi, F.The benefits of biodiversity conservation through the Italian Marine Protected Areas: application of a Choice experiment in Portofino for the monetary valuation of three ecosystem services. (Doctoral Thesis, Università degli Studi dell'Insubria, 2015).|
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