Mixed forests and ecosystem services: Investigating stakeholders' perceptions in a case study in the Polish Carpathians
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Mixed forests are thought to provide a wide range of ecosystem services for human well-being and their effectiveness, compared to monocultures, is broadly recognized in the literature. Mixed forests may increase the multifunctionality, providing a wide range of ecosystem services such as hazard protection, carbon sequestration, nature conservation and landscape values. Before undertaking a process of conversion of monocultures into mixed forests it is important to learn about perceptions of local stakeholders for mixed forests in comparison to monocultures, in order to understand their needs and identify possible sources of conflicts. In the present work, we investigate the personal perceptions about the effectiveness of mixed forests when compared to monocultures, in terms of provisioning of ecosystem services, with the aid of an ordered logit model. In addition, we highlight the fact that belonging to a particular category of organized stakeholders contribute to perceive mixed forests positively, compared to non-organized local dwellers. Results show that people acknowledging the importance of some non-productive forest ecosystem services are more likely to prefer mixed forests. Moreover, personal attitudes towards ecosystem services seem to be much more related to the degree of preference for mixed forests than other socio-economic variables, such as gender and education. Finally, another evidence of this contribution is that belonging to a precisely defined group of stakeholders considerably increases the probability to prefer mixed forests, compared to ordinary citizens.