Title: Grasslands as a sustainable tourism resource in Germany: environmental knowledge effects on resource conservation preferences

Authors: Jan Barkmann, Anne-Kathrin Zschiegner

Addresses: Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen, Platz der Gottinger Sieben 5, D-37073 Gottingen, Germany. ' Institute of Geography, Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen, Goldschmidtstr. 5, D-37077 Gottingen, Germany; University of Exeter, School of Business and Economics, Streatham Court, Rennes Drive, Exeter, Devon, EX4 4PU, UK

Abstract: Resulting from centuries of traditional animal husbandry, extensive grasslands belong to the most important natural tourism resources in Central Europe adding to the amenity values of many landscapes. Facing agricultural market pressures, they are endangered by agricultural intensification as well as by abandonment. Both developments threaten grassland values for tourists and recreationists. However, many non-experts regard extensive grasslands as |natural| and ignore the essential contribution of animal husbandry to their conservation. Against this background, we conducted choice experiments with respondents from two semi-rural suburbs of Gottingen City and from two Harz mountain villages. Respondents either use the grassland landscape for recreation and/or operate tourism businesses. We document substantial preferences for vistas facilitated by local grasslands and for grassland species diversity. Residents with higher scores of an index of grassland knowledge prefer higher numbers of sheep and cattle for grassland conservation.

Keywords: amenity values; environmental knowledge; pro-environmental action; open spaces; agriculture; willingness-to-pay; Germany; grasslands; resource conservation; animal husbandry; farming; Central Europe; grassland landscape; agricultural intensification; abandonment; recreationists; grazing; recreation; sheep; cattle; species diversity; tourist industry; tourists; sustainable tourism; tourism resources; sustainability; sustainable development; services management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSTM.2010.032076

International Journal of Services Technology and Management, 2010 Vol.13 No.3/4, pp.174 - 191

Available online: 09 Mar 2010 *

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