3 years ago

Willingness of smallholder rubber farmers to participate in ecosystem protection: Effects of household wealth and environmental awareness

The rapid expansion of natural rubber farming in southern China has led to negative environmental consequences, such as soil erosion and biodiversity loss. Therefore, local governments have made the restoration and protection of ecosystems a major policy issue. However, such efforts will only be successful if local communities participate. Using cross-sectional data on 612 smallholder rubber farmers in Xishuangbanna, this study investigates the willingness of smallholder rubber farmers to participate in ecosystem protection. We employ a multivariate probit regression model to estimate three ways of participating in environmental protection: (i) through monetary contributions of rubber farmers, (ii) by reducing rubber areas, and (iii) through the provision of free labor. The results show that most rubber farmers are willing to participate in local ecosystem protection. While wealthier households tend to participate by contributing money and providing free labor, poorer households prefer to reduce their rubber planting areas. Approximately 10% of the farmers believe that rubber cultivation has positive environmental effects and therefore abstain from participating in ecosystem protection measures. Our findings have important implications for policymakers who want to implement programs to restore and protect ecosystems in Xishuangbanna and other rubber planting regions in southern China.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S1389934117302290

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