Atlanta households’ willingness to increase urban forests to mitigate cimate change
Investments in urban forests have been increasing in many US cities. Urban forests have been shownto provide countless ecosystem benefits with many addressing climate change issues, such as seques-tering carbon, reducing air pollution, and decreasing the heat island effect. Individual groups within theAmerican public may not respond to the issue of climate change in the same way, thus engaging eachgroup in climate change solutions will require different approaches. It is therefore important to under-stand how the public perceives climate change, their values and preferences, and barriers that mightconstrain their engagement to policy solutions. A mail survey was implemented, focused on households’willingness to support and pay for urban forests as a climate change mitigation method. Atlanta, Georgia,USA was selected for this study given its environmental issues such as heat island effect and land coverchanges, including conversion of forestland, that come with rapid population growth and urban sprawl.A Tobit model was used to model willingness-to-pay as a function of several variables derived from sur-vey results; and a multivariate weighting strategy was used to address nonresponse issues. The analysisshowed that Atlanta households are willing to pay $1.05 million to $1.22 million per year, or $5.24 to $6.11million over a five-year period. The WTP amount was significantly related with the residents’ income,media source from where they received climate information, and the relative coverage of tree canopyaround their residence. Results are relevant to city managers who are interested in understanding thepublic value of urban greening programs and developing strategies or policies to expand urban forestsas part of a climate change strategy.