Environmental and Social Values from Plantation Forests: A Study in New Zealand with Focus on the Hawke's Bay Region
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Plantation forests ecosystem functions provide a range of indirect benefits known as forest services. There is lack of knowledge and estimation of the value of forest services.The main aim of the research was to investigate the environmental and social value of plantation forests in New Zealand. Each step of the research was built up on the perspectives of the stakeholder groups identified. A stakeholder analysis revealed that the most relevant stakeholder group was Adjacent neighbours. Through a postal survey forest managers and stakeholders indicated they considered as most relevant Erosion control and Water regulation (quality and quantity) Employment, Increased living standard, and Recreation. These services became the focus for the rest of the study. Through focus groups, the most relevant stakeholder groups, identified and ranked positive and negative aspects in forestry, and selected attributes describing the forest services. These were: Amount of sediment in water (water quality), Algae in water (water quality), Percentage of land stabilisation (erosion control), and Level of water flow (water quantity). The attributes for the attitudinal questions were classified as Community, Employment, and Recreation. The environmental value of plantation forests was estimated through choice modelling. The valuation survey was carried out only in Hawke's Bay. The payment vehicle used was increased regional council rates with the objective of monitoring environmental quality of soil and water. Several models were estimated by adding interactions between variables. Model 15b was selected as it provided best model fit and integrated respondents' demographic and attitudinal characteristics. The results of the model indicated that respondents who had university studies and positive attitude towards plantation forest community values were more willing to pay for improved levels of land stabilisation. The implicit prices estimated indicated that the wider community in Hawke's Bay have a greater appreciation for water quality (lower levels of algae and sediments). The responses to the attitudinal questions indicated that most respondents had positive attitudes towards the community and practical uses of plantations and employment-related values, particularly older respondents. The environmental and social values identified were linked with forest operations in order to analyse the impact they have. Land preparation and planting, road construction, and harvesting are the forest operations that have a greater impact on the levels of sediment in water.