A human well-being approach for assessing the value of natural land areas
To decide on the policy measures to be implemented, policymakers need comprehensive information on the costs and benefits of land conversion for society. Accordingly, the EU Biodiversity Strategy requires the member countries to assess their ecosystems and the economic value of their ecosystem services by 2020. This paper takes up and extends the subjective well-being approach to valuing changes in natural land cover, which provides information on willingness-to-pay for landscape amenities such as scenic views or recreational opportunities. Results at the NUTS 2 level for European countries indicate (a) that marginal willingness-to-pay estimates tend to be higher for natural areas that are scarcer, and (b) that a nonlinear relationship between land cover and well-being is preferred to a linear relationship indicating decreasing benefits from individual landscape amenities.