عنوان مقاله [English]
Flood is a phenomenon that occurs almost in most regions of the world and causes significant damage to human life and ecosystem. Forests are one of the necessary things to prevent damages caused by floods, but the conditions are not enough. Therefore, it is important to use an economic tool to manage and protect the Hyrcanian forest ecosystem in order to reduce flood damage in the coming years. Currently, there are various tools in this field that must be carefully chosen and it is not possible to use one tool in all ecosystems of the world. Payment for forest ecosystem services (PES) is one of the economic tools of forest management and protection by providing direct incentives to stakeholders to improve its ecosystem functions and services. Therefore, in comparison with other market instruments of environmental protection such as environmental taxes which may cause a reduction in the production of various economic sectors and as a result reduce the income of producers and finally lose their motivation. The Payment for Forest Ecosystem Services (PES) program not only does not reduce income, but also increases income for the beneficiaries of forest ecosystem services and thus creates incentives. Payment for ecosystem services is a two-way transaction and is completely voluntary. In this transaction, there must be at least one buyer and one ecosystem service provider provided that the ecosystem service provider continues to offer that service. The logic of PES schemes is that the beneficiaries (people who benefit from ecosystem services) are asked to protect the providers of ecosystem services (such as public or private organizations) who work to protect, restore and natural ecosystem management is to pay for better management and protection of these ecosystems. This payment may take place at the local, national and global level. Studies show that among the various factors influencing the occurrence of floods, excessive exploitation of forests and changes in the use of forest lands are the main causes of floods. But few studies have been conducted on the role of PES plans to protect natural ecosystems to prevent natural hazards such as floods. Therefore, considering the importance and extraordinary value of natural forests in the region in reducing flood damage, the purpose of this study is to investigate the preferences of residents affected by recent floods in Mazandaran province in the form of payment for ecosystem services (PES) scheme and to identify the factors affecting the acceptance of PES scheme to reduce flood damage by conservation the Hyrcanian forests ecosystem using the choice modeling approach (Choice Experiment (CE) and the multinomial econometric model. The Choice Experiment is one of the methods of valuing stated preferences, which is very suitable for analyzing the importance of different features of a product or a policy.
Materials and Methods
To achieve this goal, the Choice Experiment method and multinomial logit econometric model were used. The features studied in this method include forest management, watershed management, land use management (preventing forest land use change), payment method, contract duration and payment amount (price). Also, the statistical population of the study includes the affected-floods residents in three parts of the center, east and west of Mazandaran province. Research data were obtained by field survey, random sampling and 110 choice experiment questionnaires in summer 2020. Socio-economic variables in the study include age, gender, job, education, PES awareness, expenses and income of the affected-floods residents.
Results and Conclusion
Based on the study results, the willingness to pay of households affected by floods for conserving the Hyrcanian forest ecosystem to reduce flooding through land use management is as follows: for changing the status quo, it is 36,140 Rial per month; for improvement status, it is 68,910 Rial per month. Additionally, for contract duration and payment method, the willingness to pay is 150,150 Rial per month. The study findings also indicate that affected-floods residents prefer to make cash payments in the long-term to conserve the forest ecosystem and mitigate flooding. Furthermore, when examining the impact of various socio-economic variables on the residents' willingness to pay, it was found that age, gender, education, expenses, income, and awareness of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) have a direct positive effect on their willingness to pay. Considering these results, it is recommended that forest conservation programs in the Northern provinces place importance on the mentioned factors to encourage people's participation in forest conservation projects. This will facilitate the implementation of the PES scheme and enhance the success of forest conservation efforts.