Value of wild mushroom picking as an environmental service
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Among the environmental services provided by Mediterranean forests, wild mushroom picking is particularly appreciated. Where access to the forests is free, and when the property rights to the products that can be picked from the ground are not clearly assigned, forest owners bear a cost, in the form of forest damage by pickers, and receive no benefit. These owners therefore have little incentive to provide the public with more or better forests, however socially desirable this would be. If the value of this environmental service to society was known, an appropriate policy could be applied. The first step in assessing this value (evaluation) is illustrated here in a case study in central Catalonia, Spain. A travel cost method was applied to a sample of mushroom pickers over three years. The results show an estimated recreational surplus of €39 per journey. The second step (policy) was explored by asking mushroom pickers for their views on various different payment schemes. The results suggest that paying for this environmental service would be supported to varying degrees depending on how the policy is designed.
Is part ofForest Policy and Economics, 2011, vol. 13, núm. 6, p. 419-424
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