Article

Valuing diversification benefits through intercropping in Mediterranean agroecosystems: A choice experiment approach

  • Francisco Alcon /
  • Cristina Marín-Miñano /
  • José A. Zabala /
  • María Dolores De-Miguel /
  • José M. Martínez-Paz
Journal ar
Ecological Economics
  • Volumen: 171
  • Fecha: 01 May 2020
  • ISSN: 09218009
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2020.106593
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
© 2020 The AuthorsThe agricultural sector faces a series of environmental challenges such as water and soil pollution, erosion or biodiversity loss, especially in monoculture systems. Alternatively, crop diversification is seen as an option to reduce negative impacts and to enhance agricultural Ecosystem Services (ES). Most of these ES, such as improving resilience, despite the benefits and the high social value, do not take part in the market. In this context, the present paper presents an analysis of social preferences regarding crop diversification practices in Mediterranean agroecosystems. To do so, a choice experiment has been developed to assess social demand for more welfare-improving agricultural cropping systems. Benefits were obtained from improving environmental and cultural ES provision due to intercropping, as crop diversification practices. The results show a strong social preference for crop diversification with regard to all the benefits considered in the experiment. In fact, the total economic value for non-market goods and services provided by intercropping, which ranges from 900 to 1400 ¿/ha/year, for some crops might be potentially higher than cropland financial benefits. These results highlight the social support for a change in agricultural model to reach sustainable agroecosystems, which is essential to ensure the success of agrarian and rural development policies.

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