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User community preferences for climate change mitiga-tion and adaptation measures around Hainich National Park, Germany

In contemporary media discourse, suggestions for publicly mandated climate change mitigation or adaptation measures are frequently challenged from a cost perspective. However, empirical data on the actual economic appreciation of local mitigation and adaptation measures expressed as citizen willingness-to-pay (WTP) are scarce. In this paper, we report results of a preference survey using a choice experiment (CE) that quantifies economic preferences for biodiversity based climate change mitigation and adaptation in the region surrounding Hainich National Park (Thuringia, Germany). A representative sample of 302 respondents - the majority of them frequent Hainich forest visitors - was interviewed in autumn 2006. Nested Logit analysis showed that respondents state a substantially positive WTP for climate change mitigation by afforestation (p < 0.001). If convert-ed to WTP for an additional sequestration of carbon that average German citizens emit as CO2, a monetary value of 7.34 € yr–1 t C–1 is obtained. For increasing forest resistance and resilience against insect pests and storms (climate change adaptation) a WTP of 27.54 € yr–1 (p < 0.001) is obtained, and 16.83 € yr–1 (p < 0.001) is obtained for increasing the general resilience and resistance of forest ecosystems to environmental stressors.