Valuing agricultural biodiversity on home gardens in Hungary : an application of stated and revealed preference methods
This thesis contributes to the economics of conservation of agricultural biodiversity on farm with a case study on traditional Hungarian home gardens, which are microagroecosystems that are repositories of Hungary's remaining agricultural biodiversity riches, as well as of Hungarian cultural heritage. The aims of this thesis are to measure the private values of home gardens and agricultural biodiversity therein that accrue to farm families who manage them, and to investigate the effects of household, market, agro-ecological, cultural and economic factors on farm families' demand for and supply of agricultural biodiversity in their home gardens. Data on farm families' revealed and stated preferences for agricultural biodiversity in home gardens are collected from 323 farm households in 22 communities across 3 regions of Hungary, with an original farm household survey and an original choice experiment. Data are analysed with theoretical and empirical models from agricultural and environmental economics literature to identify those farm families, communities and regions that attach the highest values to agricultural biodiversity and that are most likely to conserve home gardens with high levels of agricultural biodiversity. The results disclose that the most isolated communities in the country, that are economically and environmentally marginalised, are most likely to sustain and attach the highest values to traditional, agricultural biodiversity rich home garden management practices. Within these communities, farm families that are larger, have elderly decisionmakers, lower income levels and home gardens with unfavourable production conditions tend to conserve higher levels of and attach the highest values to agricultural biodiversity in home gardens. Since where private values of conservation are the highest the cost of conservation would be the least, the results of this thesis may assist the national policy makers in designing efficient and cost-effective agri-environmental policies for conservation of Hungary's agricultural biodiversity riches and cultural heritage.