Journal of Forest Economics > Vol 18 > Issue 4

Forest owners’ willingness to accept compensation for voluntary conservation: A contingent valuation approach

Henrik Lindhjem, , Yohei Mitani
Suggested Citation
Henrik Lindhjem and Yohei Mitani (2012), "Forest owners’ willingness to accept compensation for voluntary conservation: A contingent valuation approach", Journal of Forest Economics: Vol. 18: No. 4, pp 290-302.

Publication Date: 0/12/2012
© 0 2012 Henrik Lindhjem, Yohei Mitani
JEL Codes:Q23Q28Q51
ForestVoluntary conservationBiodiversityCompensationWillingness to acceptContingent valuation


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In this article:
The voluntary forest conservation program in Norway 
Analytical framework for WTA 
Survey design and administration 
Analysis and results 
Modelling results and discussion 


To avoid conflicts often associated with mandatory regulations, it is crucial to motivate and incentivize forest owners to participate in voluntary conservation programs. To investigate forest owner preferences and willingness to accept compensation (WTA) to participate, we conduct a contingent valuation survey of non-industrial private forest owners in Norway. We find that WTA is negatively related to the size of the forest holding and absentee ownership, and positively related to the share of the forest classified as productive. The overall mean WTA per year per hectare is estimated at NOK 1800. Costs of reaching conservation goals can be saved by targeting small and relatively less productive forests and absentee owners first, before considering increasingly expensive forest areas. However, this recommendation only holds if desirable biological characteristics are not substantially less likely to be found in such areas. Results are potentially important both for our understanding of forest owner preferences and the costs of voluntary forest conservation schemes currently in use in many countries.