Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Decline in the alpine landscape aesthetic value in a national park under climate change.

Abstract

Alpine landscapes are projected to be degraded under climate change, which would threaten their benefits to society. Previous studies, however, have been limited to aesthetic change, and it remains unclear how much the aesthetic change would affect human welfare. To address this issue and gain insights into climate change adaptation policies, we conducted a choice experiment survey using digitally manipulated images based on climate change scenarios and natural scientific knowledge in a mountainous national park in Japan. We uncovered that park visitors appreciate the alpine landscapes that include snow patches on mountains and some types of alpine flowers by analyzing the data from 445 respondents. Conversely, both the invasion of alpine vegetation by dwarf bamboo and the disappearance of snow patches due to climate change substantially deteriorated the perceived aesthetic benefits from alpine landscapes. The economic loss caused by climate-induced landscape degradation was estimated at more than 100 USD per visitor, at maximum; the disappearance of snow patches and invasion by dwarf bamboo reduced the benefits by approximately 13 USD and 101 USD, respectively. Our findings suggest that sustaining the aesthetic value of alpine landscapes in national parks via climate change adaptation has potentially significant economic benefits. By supposing that the mountain national park attracts 70,000 visitors in summer, climate change would cause as a minimum of eight million USD economic loss at the park without appropriate measures annually. Our findings highlight the importance of climate change measures by considering climate change impacts on social benefits associated with alpine landscapes.