Public Preferences for Farmed Landscapes: the Case of Traditional Chestnut Orchards in South Tyrol

  • 1 Faculty of Science and Technology, Italy
  • 2 Department of Economics and Statistics, Italy
  • 3 Faculty of Science and Technology, Italy
  • 4 Department of Economics and Statistics

Abstract

Sweet chestnuts are, from a farming point of view, a marginal crop in South Tyrol, though historically rooted. Chestnut orchards represent a cultural heritage, as well as an important aesthetic element of the cultural landscape, besides assuming a high ecological value for many animal and plant species. Public awareness towards this ecosystem is generally higher in autumn, when fruit consumption sees its peak and events take place. Using a Choice Experiment, we assessed whether seasonality interferes in people’s willingness-to-pay for a traditional chestnut orchard and its ecosystem services. We also investigated the importance of respondent origin (residents vs tourists) and, finally, a Latent Class analysis allowed us to depict segments of society in relation to their preferences. Our results show that tourists are ready to pay more than locals for chestnut orchards and for fruits, whereas seasonality has generally a low impact.

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