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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 46, Issue 4 — July 2020
https://www.isa-arbor.com/Publications/Arboriculture-Urban-Forestry

Understanding Public Willingness to Participate in Local Conservation Initiatives of Urban Trees in Benin City, Nigeria

O. Arabomen, P.W. Chirwa, and F.D. Babalola

Abstract: As global populations become increasingly urban, public participation has emerged as a new and more direct initiative for the conservation of urban trees and ecosystem services (ES). However, little effort has been made to understand the willingness of residents to participate in conservation programs for trees and ES in Benin City, Nigeria. To fill this gap, a survey to understand residentsí knowledge of ES and their perceptions around ES conservation, i.e., personal willingness to participate in voluntary conservation initiatives (VCIs), was conducted. Unlike the general misconception that trees are not appreciated in African cities, this study showed that most residents had a positive appreciation for the ES provided by urban trees in Benin City. Additionally, irrespective of respondentsí demographics, the findings from this study indicated a growing importance of the ES that trees provide, such as regulation of excess heat, scenic beauty, flooding and erosion control, and provision of shade. Hence, willingness to participate in VCIs was related to the growing importance of ES in the study area. Respondentsí knowledge of ES, education, and years of residency increased the probability of an individualís participation in VCIs in the city. Other sociodemographic factors commonly related to urban forest participation (e.g., gender, marital status, income, profession, and residential location) did not significantly influence the willingness to participate in the conservation programs. Findings from this seminal study could assist future planning and emphasize to city developers, government (at all levels), resource managers, and decision makers the need to consider public values and perceptions towards enhancing conservation initiatives for urban trees in Benin City.

Keywords: Understanding Public Willingness to Participate in Local Conservation Initiatives of Urban Trees in Benin City, Nigeria

https://doi.org/10.48044/jauf.2020.018


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