Forest owners’ interest in participation and their compensation claims in voluntary landscape value trading

Mäntymaa, Erkki; Pouta, Eija & Hiedanpää, Juha (2021): Forest owners’ interest in participation and their compensation claims in voluntary landscape value trading: The case of wind power parks in Finland. Forest Policy and Economics.

Although wind power is regarded as a sustainable way to produce electrical energy, wind turbines may cause harmful effects locally. A possible solution is to reduce the effects through forest management practices, for example leaving forest stands uncut as landscape shields to hide the turbines and stop them from spoiling the scenery. Using data from an online survey of landowners, we investigated whether voluntary mechanisms could encourage forest owners to change their forest management practices near wind farms to minimize the harmful effects. More precisely, we analyzed forest owners’ willingness to participate in an initiative involving payment for ecosystem services called Landscape Value Trade (LVT) and studied the related compensation claims in southwestern Finland. We explained willingness to participate and the claims made with the characteristics of the landowners or their holding and with attitudinal variables.

According to our results, 73.6% of the respondents would possibly or certainly participate in the mechanism. The average annual compensation requirement in this study was €298 per hectare. In addition, we found that low dependence on forestry and forest-related income tended to increase interest in participation in the LVT initiative and reduce the compensation claims. An important result related to the cost-effective application of the mechanism, is that the more interested the respondents were in cooperation with the LVT initiative the less compensation they would claim. Thus, the voluntary nature of the LVT initiative simultaneously acted as a cost-reducing element. The results could help in detecting some of the key features of the supply side of LVT initiatives.

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