Ecosystem services and their interaction with hunting activity in Greece

Ecosystem services and their interaction with hunting activity in Greece

komath2Presentation by Konstantinos Papaspyropoulos, Hunting Federation of Macedonia and Thrace
Eurosite Annual Meeting 2016, Serres, Greece

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There is a growing interest for the supply of ecosystem services worldwide. The degradation of the agricultural environment has reduced the availability of ecosystem services. However, several stakeholders are interested in their conservation and willing to pay for stabilizing their supply. Hunters are such stakeholders. They are affected by the provisional and cultural services of ecosystems and they affect the regulating and habitat ecosystem services by working for nature management.

In Greece the Hunting Federation of Macedonia and Thrace (KOMATH) delivers significant work for the conservation and management of ecosystem services, for example KOMATH pays annually 2 million euro for habitat improvement actions. This is called a Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) in the natural resources economics scientific discipline. PES is a popular economic tool for the management of ecosystems. This tool has been applied in wildlife management. The literature presents several examples where PES contributed to the conservation and increase of wildlife population, either for bird watching, or for hunting reasons.

In 2006 KOMATH purchased the grazing permit from a local Agricultural Cooperative (Doxato area). Since then it pays annually the amount of 2.000 euro for the maintenance of the cereal stubble fields. Using this way, KOMATH offers feed and cover to wildlife, so the area is a habitat for more hunted species, especially quail. This action was lately assessed by the Research Division of KOMATH. Using questionnaires and the Contingent Valuation Method, local hunters were asked to pose their Willingness to Pay (WTP) for the maintenance of the action, supposing that in the future the funding availability of KOMATH will be limited. The hunters assessed the action positively. They stated that the quail abundance and the overall hunting quality (harvest and recreation) have increased significantly. Hunters’ visits to the area have also increased in a statistical significant way and, thus, a 58% of them poses a 5-10 euro WTP and a 26% a 10-20 euro WTP for the action’s maintenance. Using an econometric model it was found that hunting quality was the determinant factor for the expressed WTP. Higher WTP was associated with higher satisfaction of hunting.

These findings show the importance of the KOMATH’s habitat improvement actions. Additionally it is a suitable case study for helping landowners understand how they can manage hunting on their land. Overall, it is an example of how PES can contribute to wildlife species conservation.

For more information, please contact Konstantinos Papaspyropoulos or visit the KOMATH website.

Photo: © Alexandros Gkasios / photo archive KOMATH