Stated preference methods and landscape ecology indicators: An example of transdisciplinarity in landscape economic valuation
This paper addresses the representation of landscape complexity in stated preferences research. It integrates landscape ecology and landscape economics and conducts the landscape analysis in a three-dimensional space to provide ecologically meaningful quantitative landscape indicators that are used as variables for the monetary valuation of landscape in a stated preferences study. Expected heterogeneity in taste intensity across respondents is addressed with a mixed logit model in willingness to pay space. Our methodology is applied to value, in monetary terms, the landscape of the Sorrento Peninsula in Italy, an area that has faced increasing pressure from urbanisation affecting its traditional horticultural, herbaceous, and arboreal structure, with loss of biodiversity, and an increasing risk of landslides. We find that residents of the Sorrento Peninsula would prefer landscapes characterised by large open views and natural features. Residents also appear to dislike increasing level of landscape heterogeneity and the presence of lemon orchards and farmers' stewardship, which are associated with the current failure of protecting the traditional landscape. The outcomes suggest that the use of landscape ecology metrics in a stated preferences model may be an effective way to move forward integrated methodologies to better understand and represent landscape and its complexity.