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Payments for Carbon Sequestration to Alleviate Development Pressure in a Rapidly Urbanizing Region

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The purpose of this study was to determine individuals' willingness to enroll in voluntary payments for carbon sequestration programs through the use of a discrete choice experiment delivered to forest owners living in the rapidly urbanizing region surrounding Charlotte, North Carolina. We examined forest owners' willingness to enroll in payments for carbon sequestration policies under different levels of financial incentives (annual revenue), different contract lengths, and different program administrators (e.g., private companies versus a state or federal agency). We also examined the influence forest owners' sense of place had on their willingness to enroll in hypothetical programs. Our results showed a high level of ambivalence toward participating in payments for carbon sequestration programs. However, both financial incentives and contract lengths significantly influenced forest owners' intent to enroll. Neither program administration nor forest owners' sense of place influenced intent to enroll. Although our analyses indicated that payments from carbon sequestration programs are not currently competitive with the monetary returns expected from timber harvest or property sales, certain forest owners might see payments for carbon sequestration programs as a viable option for offsetting increasing tax costs as development encroaches and property values rise.
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Keywords: payments for ecosystem services; stated choice methods; urbanization

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, Department of Environment and Society, Utah State University, Logan, UT. 2: US Geological Survey. 3: University of North Carolina, Charlotte. 4: North Carolina State University. 5: Utah State University.

Appeared or available online: Thu Jan 05 00:00:00 UTC 2017

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