The valuation of forest carbon services by Mexican citizens: the case of Guadalajara city and La Primavera biosphere reserve

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Torres, Arturo Balderas ; MacMillan, Douglas C. ; Skutsch, Margaret ; Lovett, Jon C. (2013)

Adequate demand for, and recognition of,forest carbon services is critical to success of market mechanisms for forestry-based conservation and climate change mitigation. National and voluntary carbon-offsetting schemes are emerging as alternatives to international compliance markets. We developed a choice experiment to explore determinants of local forest carbon-offset valuation. A total of 963 citizens from Guadalajara in Mexico\ud were asked to consider a purchase of voluntary offsets from the neighbouring Biosphere Reserve of La Primavera and from two alternative more distant locations: La Michilı´a in the state of Durango and El Cielo in Tamaulipas. Surveys were applied in market stall sessions and online using two different sampling methods: the snowball technique and via a market research company. The local La Primavera site attracted higher participation and valuation than the more distant sites. However, groups particularly interested in climate change mitigation or cost may accept cost-efficient options in the distant sites. Mean implicit carbon prices obtained ranged from $6.79 to $15.67/tCO2eq depending on the surveying methodology and profile of respondents. Survey application mode can significantly affect outcome of the experiment. Values from the market stall sessions were higher than those from the snowball and market research samples obtained online; this may be linked to greater cooperation associated with personal interaction and collective action. In agreement with the literature, we found that valuation of forest carbon offsets is associated with cognitive, ethical, behavioural, geographical and economic factors.
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