Exploring landscape values and willingness to pay for perceived ecosystem services: The case of Malampaya Sound Protected Landscape and Seascape

Volume (Issue): 16 (8)

Since the 1990s, the Philippines has established numerous protected areas aimed at preserving re-gions with distinct biological and ecological characteristics. However, transitioning towards a more comprehensive approach to managing these protected areas, one that effectively conserves biodiversity while also supporting the welfare of local communities, remains a formidable task. Understanding the sources of the goods and services upon which communities rely, whether di-rectly or indirectly, and their perceptions of ecosystem services (ESs) is a crucial aspect that can inform decision-making for both protected area managers and policymakers. This research spe-cifically examines the mapping of landscape values as perceived by local communities within Malampaya Sound Protected Landscape and Seascape (MSPLS) in the Philippines. Using survey questionnaires administered to 114 randomly selected participants, the study identifies the ESs within MSPLS and maps the associated landscape values. The respondents were tasked with as-signing values to the ESs using a typology of 14 landscape values, and their willingness to pay (WTP) to enhance the ESs within MSPLS was also investigated. Analysis of socio-demographic data, the identified ESs, and the perceived landscape values was conducted to uncover significant relationships between the variables. Our findings reveal that the respondents prioritize provision-ing services, particularly fisheries, agriculture, and agroforestry. Regarding landscape value preferences, economic value is most prominently perceived (37.4%), followed by subsistence value (30.8%) and life-sustaining value (6.8%). This study further unveils the socio-economic factors in-fluencing the ranking of ESs and trends in WTP for ES improvements in Malampaya. Additional-ly, a potential payment for ecosystem services scheme in MSPLS is estimated at PHP 532,000, ap-proximately USD 10,600.