Addressing awareness gaps in environmental valuation: choice experiments with citizens in the Inner Forth, Scotland

Anja Helena Liski, Mark J. Koetse, Marc J. Metzger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Managed realignment of shorelines to manage floods and restore wetland can be difficult to implement without the support and involvement of local communities. Ecosystem service valuation tools, such as choice experiments, can be used to engage citizens in planning these sustainable transitions, yet citizens need to know their local shoreline and the pressures it is facing. Otherwise, people’s ability to participate in local governance and to value potential changes is limited. The aim of this study is to identify and address awareness gaps that would hinder informed participation in a choice experiment: we address awareness gaps through deliberative interventions in a workshop setting, and by measuring the impact of deliberation through a comparison of choice experiment results performed before and after each stage of deliberation with citizens living on the shores of the Inner Forth estuary in Scotland. We estimate separate choice models for each of the choice experiments and find that deliberation increases both the resistance to ‘status quo’ and support for landscape-scale managed realignment of the shoreline. The deliberative interventions helped to identify clearer shoreline priorities and reduce contradictory patterns in shoreline preference. After gaining experience and deliberation, we find participants to become more selective: willingness to pay decreases substantially and model performance improves (slightly). Preferences diverge after learning about shoreline issues, whereas discussion converges preferences for the two most important shoreline attributes. These findings suggest that deliberative valuation not only shapes citizens’ attitudes towards shoreline management but also improves the quality of citizen engagement in the delivery of sustainable transitions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2217-2229
Number of pages13
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2020


  • Citizen participation
  • Deliberative valuation
  • Ecosystem services valuation
  • Managed realignment
  • Willingness to pay

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