Forest owners’ preferences for contract-based management to enhance environmental values versus timber production
Forests are sources of multiple ecosystem services (ESs) essential for human wellbeing. Forest owners are critical actors to decide which benefits they produce from their forests. To support the uptake of alternative forest management strategies in a way that is beneficial from the perspective of society as whole, new incentive schemes could be implemented in the future. We applied the choice experiment method to investigate Finnish forest owners’ potential participation in an incentive scheme in which they were asked to practice a ‘Timber Oriented’ or a ‘Nature Oriented’ management strategy according to the terms of a hypothetical contract. We found that the majority forest owners are willing to participate in the considered contract-based payment scheme, especially those supporting biodiversity and non-market ESs. Non-profitability attributes including biodiversity, carbon stock, and probability of climate change induced damage were highly valued. Forest owners prefer the management contract with the Nature Oriented strategy. Forest owners’ preferences for the contractbased management and associated effects are heterogenous.