Conservation and recreational values from semi-natural grasslands for visitors to two italian parks
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According to integrated natural resources management, interrelated resources have to be managed by maintaining their environmental quality, and visitors are stakeholders who have to be involved in natural park management decisions. In this paper we simultaneously examine the conservation and recreational values from grasslands for visitors to two Italian Regional Parks. A contingent valuation survey was carried out in 2007 for estimating non-use benefits to visitors from a grasslands conservation project in these parks. Two scenarios were considered: the present landscape composed of grasslands and forests, and a hypothetical scenario of forests without grasslands. Respondents were asked the quality rating of the parks as places for recreational activities, and their willingness to donate (WTD) per year to a project for maintaining the status quo. Results show that the majority of respondents give a high rating to these parks, are in favour of the project implementation, and willing to donate mainly for the benefit of future generations. Among the WTD determinants, by estimating a Tobit model and a two-stage model, giving a high quality rating to the park for recreational activities corresponds to a higher WTD for grassland conservation. This seems to suggest that the recreational motivation tends to coincide with the need to conserve habitats and biodiversity, and that the decision maker should pay specific attention to the maintenance of the quality of the recreational activities as well as the maintenance of a diversified landscape in these parks.