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Shared ecological knowledge and wetland values: a case study

Franco, Daniele and Luiselli, Luca (2014): Shared ecological knowledge and wetland values: a case study. Published in: Land Use Policy No. 41 (2014): pp. 526-532.

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The estimation of wetlands’ non-use values to build up a total economic evaluation can be based on stated preference methods, which derives from the standard economic model that assumes a rational assessment of the consequence of preferences on personal utility. The paper describes the citizens’ shared ecological knowledge (SEK) of wetlands functions. It descibes SEK nature, SEK relation with the official knowledge, the relation between the motivations outlined by SEK and those expected by the standard economic model. The results demonstrate that economic preferences are driven by multiple motivations well rooted in the SEK’s social nature, and not by simply consequential motivations. In this case study, social knowledge of wetlands' ecological functions is proportionally related to people's living proximity to those wetlands. Unexpectedly, SEK of historically well-known and critically important services like hydraulic and hydrologic services has also been diminishing. Furthermore, there is a partial or clear-cut separation between official knowledge and SEK on crucial aspects like wetlands’ climate change role. This approach helps to construct a motivational framework to derive values that are useful as long as they allow accounting for a complex socio-cultural capital in the public decision making process.

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