Valuation of climate-change effects on Mediterranean shrublands

Pere Riera, Josep Peñuelas, Verónica Farreras, Marc Estiarte

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33 Citations (Scopus)


In general, the socioeconomic analysis of natural systems does not enter into the realms of natural science. This paper, however, estimates the human-welfare effects of possible physicochemical and biological impacts of climate change on Mediterranean shrublands over the coming 50 years. The contingent choice method was applied to elicit the trade-offs in perceived values for three climate-sensitive attributes of shrubland (plant cover, fire risk, and soil erosion) and for the costs of programs designed to mitigate changes. Soil erosion was found to be the attribute of shrubland that most concerned the population, followed by fire risk and then plant cover. An increase of 1% in the shrubland area affected by erosion was estimated to cost each person on average 2.9 euros per year in terms of lost welfare, a figure that is equivalent in terms of perceptions of social welfare to an increase of 0.24% in the shrub area burned annually and a decrease of 3.19% in the area of plant cover. These trade-off values may help ecologists, policy makers, and land managers to take social preferences into account. © 2007 by the Ecological Society of America.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-100
JournalEcological Applications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • Catalonia
  • Climate change
  • Contingent choice method
  • Human welfare effects of climate change
  • Land management policy
  • Mediterranean shrubs
  • Plant-cover loss-fire risk-erosion trade-offs
  • Shrublands
  • Social valuation of environmental-impact choices
  • Valuation


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