Socio-demographic, behavioural, economic and structural factors affecting private tree planting decisions to increase ecosystem services in the Republic of Ireland.

23 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2018

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 5, 2018

Abstract

Forest policy in Ireland has focused on the expansion of forest cover in recent years to increase ecosystem services, but in spite of financial support to incentivize farmers to afforest previously agricultural land and the high returns of farm forestry relative to the agricultural alternatives, the rate of annual afforestation is falling well below targets. This paper presents results from a survey of farmers that examined the differences between the characteristics and attitudes of farmers that have planted trees and those that have not. We explore two decisions (a) the decision to enter into forestry and (b) how much land is planted. The results show that farmers consider a broad range of factors along with the expected economic returns in deciding whether to afforest land. Factors such as the irreversibility of the planting decision, bequeathing property to decedents, farm size, and socio-demographic, structural and behavioral factors all play a role in the afforestation decision. Until now, the incentivization of afforestation has focused solely on the provision of economic incentives. If future policies are to be more effective in achieving increased afforestation, policy makers may also need to address issues around education and regulation.

Keywords: Ecosystem service, farmer behavior, inheritance (bequest value), irreversibility (option value), planting decisions.

JEL Classification: Q50, Q57,Q58,Q38,Q39

Suggested Citation

Vidyaratne, Herath, Socio-demographic, behavioural, economic and structural factors affecting private tree planting decisions to increase ecosystem services in the Republic of Ireland. (November 5, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3279038 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3279038

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