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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Psychological distances to climate change and public preferences for biodiversity-augmenting attributes in family-owned production forests

Kim, Do-hun; Sjolie, Hanne K.; Aguilar, Francisco X.


Understanding public perceptions on how management can help adapt forests to climate change is fundamental to the design of socially-acceptable policies. A binary discrete choice experiment in Norway and Sweden was conducted to elicit public preferences for biodiversity-augmenting changes in three forest management attributes (set-aside, proportion of uneven-aged tree stands, and number and type of tree species) compared to typical status quo conditions in family-owned production forests. Importantly, how self-constructed psychological (spatial, social, temporal and hypothetical) distances to climate change were associated with management preferences was investigated. Following integrated choice and latent variable modeling approaches to account for their latency, our econometric results show that closer psychological distances to climate change were associated with increased support for biodiversity-augmenting changes in management attributes from status quo conditions of family-owned production forests. On average, the Norwegian public preferred larger set-asides and introducing one more broadleaved species, while the Swedish public favored changes in all attributes. The highest utility was derived from increasing set-aside areas from the status quo (5%) to 10% and 20% in both countries with respective average WTP of about 10 to 11 EUR/month in Norway, and approximately 10 to 14 EUR/month in Sweden. Findings point to universal acceptability of increasing set-aside areas in both nations, and public approval for uneven-aged and mixed forest management in Sweden.


Wood production; Forest biodiversity; Discrete choice experiment; Psychological distances to climate change; Integrated choice and latent variable model

Published in

Forest Policy and Economics
2024, Volume: 163, article number: 103201
Publisher: ELSEVIER

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

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