Jose R Soto
- Assistant Professor, Coupled Natural Human Systems
- Assistant Professor, American Indian Studies-GIDP
- Assistant Professor, Arid Lands Resources Sciences - GIDP
- Member of the Graduate Faculty
- Ph.D. Food and Resource Economics
- University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, United States
- Estimating the Supply of Forest Carbon Offsets : A Comparison of Best-Worst and Discrete Choice Valuation Methods
- M.S. Agricultural and Resource Economics
- University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, United States
- Acreage Allocation Analysis of Florida’s Winter Tomato Production
- B.S. Economics
- University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, United States
- University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona (2017 - Ongoing)
- University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (2016 - 2017)
- University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (2014 - 2016)
No activities entered.
DissertationRNR 920 (Fall 2021)
Ecosystem Service ValuationRNR 615 (Fall 2021)
DissertationRNR 920 (Spring 2021)
Econs & Soc Cnctions Nat ResPA 485 (Spring 2021)
Econs & Soc Cnctions Nat ResPA 585 (Spring 2021)
Econs & Soc Cnctions Nat ResRNR 485 (Spring 2021)
Econs & Soc Cnctions Nat ResRNR 585 (Spring 2021)
DissertationRNR 920 (Fall 2020)
Ecosystem Service ValuationRNR 615 (Fall 2020)
ThesisRNR 910 (Fall 2020)
Current ResearchARL 595A (Spring 2020)
DissertationRNR 920 (Spring 2020)
Econs & Soc Cnctions Nat ResPA 485 (Spring 2020)
Econs & Soc Cnctions Nat ResPA 585 (Spring 2020)
Econs & Soc Cnctions Nat ResRNR 485 (Spring 2020)
Econs & Soc Cnctions Nat ResRNR 585 (Spring 2020)
DissertationRNR 920 (Fall 2019)
Ecosystem Service ValuationRNR 615 (Fall 2019)
DissertationRNR 920 (Spring 2019)
Econs & Soc Cnctions Nat ResRNR 485 (Spring 2019)
Renewable Nat ResourcesRNR 696A (Spring 2019)
DissertationRNR 920 (Fall 2018)
Renewable Nat ResourcesRNR 696A (Fall 2018)
- Adams, D. C., Soto, J. R., Lai, J., Escobedo, F. J., Alvarez, S., & Kibria, A. S. (2020). Public Preferences and Willingness to Pay for Invasive Forest Pest Prevention Programs in Urban Areas. Forests, 11(10)(1056). doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/f11101056More infoInvasive forest pests can cause environmental and economic damage amounting to billions of dollars (US) in lost revenues, restoration and response costs, and the loss of ecosystem services nationwide. Unfortunately, these forest pests do not stay confined to wildland forest areas and can spread into suburban and urban areas, imposing significant costs on local governments, homeowners, and management agencies. In this study, a contingent valuation experiment is used to estimate Florida residents’ willingness to pay (WTP) a monthly utility fee that would protect urban forests from invasive pests by implementing a monitoring and prevention program for their early detection and eradication. On average, the respondents are WTP US $5.44 per month to implement the surveillance program, revealing an aggregate WTP in the order of US $540 million per year. The results also reveal that respondents are sensitive to the scope of the program, with higher rates of participation and higher WTP for a program that is more effective at preventing forest pest invasions.
- Núñez-Regueiro, M. M., Branch, L. C., Derlindati, E., Gasparri, I., Marinaro, S., Nanni, S., Núñez Godoy, C., Piquer-Rodríguez, M., Soto, J. R., & Tálamo, A. (2020). Open Standards for conservation as a tool for linking research and conservation agendas in complex socio-ecological systems.. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 44, 6-15. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2020.03.001More infoDisparity between the knowledge produced and knowledge required to address complex environmental challenges, such as biodiversity conservation and climate adaptation, continues to grow. Systems thinking under the Open Standards for Conservation framework can help close this gap by facilitating interdisciplinary engagement, advancing conversations on how environmental systems work, and identifying actions that could be implemented to achieve defined conservation goals. Here, we present a modelling exercise for one of the most endangered forested systems in the world: The Gran Chaco. We focus on unsustainable hunting, a pressing threat to this system. We highlight knowledge gaps that underpin all parts of an adaptive management process from understanding key relationships in social-ecological systems to design and implementation of strategies for Gran Chaco conservation as well as evaluation of outcomes.
- Núñez-Regueiro, M. M., Hiller, J., Branch, L. C., Núñez Godoy, C., Siddiqui, S., Volante, J., & Soto, J. R. (2020). Policy lessons from spatiotemporal enrollment patterns of payment for ecosystem service programs in Argentina. Land Use Policy, 95(104596). doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.104596More infoPayment for ecosystem services schemes (PES) are lauded as a market-based solution to curtail deforestation and restore degraded ecosystems. However, PES programs often fail to conserve sites under strong long-term deforestation pressures. Underperformance, in part, is likely due to adverse selection. Spatial adverse selection occurs when landowners are more likely to enroll parcels with low deforestation pressure than parcels with high deforestation pressure. Temporal adverse selection arises when parcels are enrolled for short time periods. In both cases, financial resources are allocated without having a sizeable impact on long-term land use change. Improving program performance to overcome these shortcomings requires understanding attributes of landowners and their parcels across large scales to identify spatial and temporal enrollment patterns that drive adverse selection. In this paper, we examine these patterns in Argentina’s PES program in Chaco forest, a global deforestation hotspot. Our study area covers 252,319 km2. Results from multinomial logistic regression models showed that large parcels of enrolled land and parcels owned by absentee landowners exhibit greater evidence of spatiotemporal adverse selection than smaller parcels or parcels owned by local landowners. Furthermore, parcels managed under land use plans for conservation and restoration are more likely to be associated with adverse selection than parcels managed for financial returns such as harvest of non-timber forest products, silviculture, and silvopasture. However, prior to recommending that PES programs focus on land uses with higher potential earnings, a greater understanding is needed of the degree to which these land uses meet ecological and biodiversity goals of PES programs. We suggest that increased spatial targeting of enrollment, along with enrollment of local landowners and further incentives for land uses that support conservation and restoration, could promote long-term conservation of forest lands.
- Orizaga, S., Daniel, R. N., & Soto, J. R. (2020). Drug delivery in catheterized arterial blood flow with atherosclerosis. Results in Applied Mathematics, 7(100117). doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rinam.2020.100117
- Zea-Camaño, J. D., Soto, J. R., Arce, J. E., Pelissari, A. L., Behling, A., Orso, G. A., Guachambala, M. S., & de Loyola Eisfeld, R. (2020). Improving the Modeling of the Height–Diameter Relationship of Tree Species with High Growth Variability: Robust Regression Analysis of Ochroma pyramidale (Balsa-Tree).. Forests, 11(3)(313). doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/f11030313More infoOchroma pyramidale (Cav. ex. Lam.) Urb. (balsa-tree) is a commercially important tree species that ranges from Mexico to northern Brazil. Due to its low weight and mechanical endurance, the wood is particularly well-suited for wind turbine blades, sporting equipment, boats and aircrafts; as such, it is in high market demand and plays an important role in many regional economies. This tree species is also well-known to exhibit a high degree of variation in growth. Researchers interested in modeling the height–diameter relationship typically resort to using ordinary least squares (OLS) to fit linear models; however, this method is known to suffer from sensitivity to outliers. Given the latter, the application of these models may yield potentially biased tree height estimates. The use of robust regression with iteratively reweighted least squares (IRLS) has been proposed as an alternative to mitigate the influence of outliers. This study aims to improve the modeling of height–diameter relationships of tree species with high growth variation, by using robust regressions with IRLS for data-sets stratified by site-index and age-classes. We implement a split sample approach to assess the model performance using data from Ecuador’s continuous forest inventory (n = 32,279 trees). A sensitivity analysis of six outlier scenarios is also conducted using a subsample of the former (n = 26). Our results indicate that IRLS regression methods can give unbiased height predictions. At face value, the sensitivity analysis indicates that OLS performs better in terms of standard error of estimate. However, we found that OLS suffers from skewed residual distributions (i.e., unreliable estimations); conversely, IRLS seems to be less affected by this source of bias and the fitted parameters indicate lower standard errors. Overall, we recommend using robust regression methods with IRLS to produce consistent height predictions for O. pyramidale and other tree species showing high growth variation.
- Adams, D. C., Susaeta, A., Soto, J. R., Rossi, F., Grammont, P. C., Messina, W. A., Koch, F. H., Gomez, D., & Hulcr, J. (2019). A bioeconomic model for estimating potential economic damages from a hypothetical Asian beetle introduced via future trade with Cuba. Journal of Bioeconomics.More infoAlthough present United States (U.S.) policy restricts very nearly all Cuban commercial exports to the U.S., there is potential for the restrictions to be relaxed or perhaps even lifted at some point in the future. In light of the potential increased trade with Cuba, the potential arrival of invasive species such as bark beetles and ambrosia beetles—particularly from Asia via Cuban imports—could represent a serious threat for the southern U.S. forestlands. We develop a bioeconomic model that estimates potential economic damages to southern pine forests caused by the hypothetical introduction of an unknown Asian bark or ambrosia beetle via future trade with Cuba for the study period 2018–2050. We examine individual policies and combinations of them that could be considered in response to this hypothetical situation. Using the pre-revolution Cuban level of imports, the economic damages in absence of “any policy or management action” could reach $2.44 million ($76,250/year). These damages could be reduced to between $469,000 ($14,656/year) and $1.02 million ($31,875/year) if a risk mitigation policy (forest thinning) were implemented. When prevention polices are considered as the baseline, the risk mitigation policy (combined with prevention) is again observed to be the dominant policy. The differences between the various combinations with respect to the prevention policy are relatively minor ranging between $856,000 ($26,750/year) and $1.30 million ($40,635/year). These findings should be interpreted with caution given the limited amount of empirical data and policy assumptions, but they nonetheless can inform policy choices related to trade, pests, and Cuba.
- Pienaar, E. F., Soto, J. R., Lai, J. H., & Adams, D. C. (2019). Would County Residents Vote for an Increase in Their Taxes to Conserve Native Habitat and Ecosystem Services? Funding Conservation in Palm Beach County, Florida. Ecological Economics, 159, 24 - 34.More infoIn the 1990s, residents of Palm Beach County, Florida, voted in favor of two bonds to finance the acquisition and restoration of lands of environmental concern. In total, 31,445 acres of native habitat were conserved to create the Natural Areas Program. These lands protect both biodiversity and ecosystem services, including open space amenities, outdoor recreation, and flood protection in urban and peri-urban areas. In 2015, county staff determined that a dedicated source of funding (~$6.4 million per year) is required to maintain these natural areas. These funds would pay for continued revegetation of natural areas, removal of invasive plants, maintenance of recreation infrastructure, parking lots, fences, and signs, the provision of educational materials for visitors, and the monitoring of habitat, plants and animals to maintain ecosystem health. Palm Beach County's Department of Environmental Resources Management asked us to determine what value residents place on the Natural Areas Program and ecosystem services it provides. In 2017, we administered a stated preference choice experiment to residential property owners in Palm Beach County. Taking preference heterogeneity into account, we determined that allowing the natural areas to become degraded would likely reduce the welfare of 82% of respondents. Respondents were heterogeneous in terms of the value they placed on habitat conservation and ecosystem services. Our results suggest that Palm Beach County should hold a referendum on continued financing of the Natural
- Dawes, L. C., Adams, A. E., Escobedo, F. J., & Soto, J. R. (2018). Socioeconomic and ecological perceptions and barriers to urban tree distribution and reforestation programs. Urban Ecosystems, Volume 21(Issue 4), 657-671. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-018-0760-zMore infoTree planting and reforestation initiatives in urban and peri-urban areas often use tree distribution or “giveaway” programs as a strategy to increase tree cover and subsequent benefits. However, the effectiveness of these programs in terms of increasing overall tree cover and providing benefits to low-income and disadvantaged communities has been little studied. We assess these programs by exploring community participation in, and barriers to, an urban tree distribution program in Fort Lauderdale, United States and the role socioeconomic background and tree functional types have on participation. We use a mixed-methods approach, panel data, choice experiments, and econometrics to quantitatively analyze respondent’s ranking of program options. High income, White respondents had the highest level of awareness and participation while low income, African Americans (AA) had the lowest level. Monetary rebates were perceived as positive and significant as the compensation value increased to US$8.00 - $12.00. Fruit-bearing and native tree functional types were more preferred than flowering or shade trees. Latinos, AA, and high income respondents preferred fruit trees, while White, high income preferred native trees. Overall, low income respondents perceived the greatest barriers towards participation. 20% of Broward County residents who participated in the survey were aware of the tree giveaway programs and 13% had previously participated. Findings indicate an adaptive governance mismatch between program objectives to equitably increase city tree cover via planting shade trees versus individual’s knowledge and preference for other tree types and functions. Results can be used for developing and evaluating reforestation initiatives to equitably increase tree cover and improve the governance of urban ecosystems.
- Rubino, E. C., Pienaar, E. F., & Soto, J. R. (2018). Structuring Legal Trade in Rhino Horn to Incentivize the Participation of South African Private Landowners. Ecological Economics, Volume 154, 306-316. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2018.08.012More infoThere is contentious debate in the literature regarding the conservation efficacy of the international rhinoceros horn trade ban. Because the ban has been in effect for 40 years, it is unclear how potential legal horn trade should be structured to attain rhino conservation on private lands. We sought to fill this gap by eliciting the preferences of South African private wildlife industry members (who conserve a third of South Africa's rhinoceroses) for international trade in rhino horn. We used a combination of best-worst scaling and dichotomous choice experiments to determine wildlife industry members' preferences for three features of legal trade: market structure; payment/kg horn; and whether landowners should be required to conserve a minimum amount of land per rhino before they may enter the market. Results indicate that respondents preferred payments of at least ZAR 150,000/kg (USD $11,500) and that legal trade not be regulated by government organizations. Respondents did not have clear preferences about whether market participants should be required to meet a minimum land requirement per rhino. Our results provide insights into how potential horn trade policy may be structured to meet the financial needs of private landowners, while securing the conservation of rhinos on private lands.
- Soto, J. R., Escobedo, F. J., Khachatryan, H., & Adams, D. C. (2018). Consumer demand for urban forest ecosystem services and disservices: examining trade-offs using choice experiments and best-worst scaling. Ecosystem Services, 29, 31-39. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2017.11.009More infoMany studies value urban ecosystem service benefits using residents’ willingness to pay and supply-side analyses of ecosystem attributes. But, few studies account for consumer demand and ecosystem disservices. To address this gap we surveyed 1052 homeowners eliciting consumer demand for key urban forest ecosystem attributes and service-disservice levels in both their properties and surrounding neighborhood. We use an approach integrating focus group, field data, and surveys to identify consumer preferences and trade-offs between urban forest ecosystem structure-functional attributes and their level of services and disservices. This method, called best worst choice, produces more estimates of utility while reducing the likelihood of introducing biases associated with human cognitive tendencies. Results indicate that consumer choices for property value were highest followed by tree condition, a structural proxy for minimizing disservices, and tree shade, a functional proxy for temperature regulation. We also found evidence of trade-offs in demand for different ecosystem services, significant scale effects, and that willingness to pay for ecosystem disservices was negative. Findings suggest that management, and studies that value and map ecosystem services, using fixed scales should account for end-user demand and functional traits, as consumers can discern trade-offs in benefits and disservices across different cognitive and spatial scales.
- White, A. E., Lutz, D. A., Howarth, R. B., & Soto, J. R. (2018). Small-scale forestry and carbon offset markets: An empirical study of Vermont Current Use forest landowner willingness to accept carbon credit programs. PloS one, 13(8), p.e0201967. doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0201967More infoThis study investigates the preferences of small forest landowners regarding forest carbon credit programs while documenting characteristics of potentially successful frameworks. We designed hypothetical carbon credit programs with aggregated carbon offset projects and requirements of existing voluntary and compliance protocols in mind. We administered a mail survey to 992 forest landowners in Vermont’s Current Use Program utilizing best-worst choice, a novel preference elicitation technique, to elicit their preferences about these programs. We found that small forest landowners see revenue as the most important factor in a carbon credit program and the duration of the program as the least important factor. Landowners reported that shorter program duration, higher revenue, and lower withdrawal penalties positively impact their willingness to accept forest carbon credit programs. Notably, our study includes carbon credit program implementer as a key program attribute, allowing us to quantify landowners’ tradeoffs between non-profit, for-profit, and government organizations. Overall, we found that landowners significantly prefer working with a non-profit organization. Based on monetary estimates of willingness-to-accept compensation, our results suggest that aggregated forest carbon offset projects incorporating small forest landowners could be piloted successfully in Vermont by non-profit organizations while maintaining relatively strict guidelines of existing carbon offset protocols.
- Adams, D. C., Koirala, U., & Soto, J. R. (2020, February). Agricultural Producers’ Willingness to Accept Payments for Improving Resources in the Floridan Aquifer. 7th University of Florida Water Institute Symposium. Gainesville, FL.
- Kibria, A., Costanza, R., Gasparatos, A., & Soto, J. R. (2020, September). Measuring human wellbeing in coupled socio-ecological systems: a multidimensional framework and index. Arizona Postdoctoral Research Conference. On-line (virtual).
- Soto, J. R. (2019, March). Payments for the Managing Forests for Water Production: Institutional Preferences of Forest Landowners in Florida, USA. II Congreso y Exhibición Internacional: Agua para el Futuro. Mendoza, Argentina: Secretaría de Infraestructura y Política Hídrica, Ministerio del Interior, Argentina.
- Soto, J. R. (2019, March). The Path to Sustainability: Conflicts and the Importance of Drivers and Preferences. Universidad Nacional de Salta, IBIGEO Faculty Research Seminar. Salta, Argentina: Universidad Nacional de Salta, IBIGEO - Instituto de Biologia y Geociencias del NOA.
- Kreye, M., Adams, D. C., Soto, J. R., & Rimsaite, R. (2018, December). Social Value of Enhancing Ecosystem Services on Private Forest Lands in the Southeastern US. A Community of Ecosystem Services. Washington, DC: A Community of Ecosystem Services.
- Kreye, M., Adams, D. C., Soto, J. R., & Rimsaite, R. (2018, October). Social Value of Enhancing Ecosystem Services on Private Forest Lands in the Southeastern US. Graduate Seminar, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management. State College, PA: Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, Pennsylvania State University.
- Kreye, M., Soto, J. R., Adams, D. C., & Rimsaite, R. (2018, November). Getting the Most from Private Forest Lands: An examination of economic and social values. Environmental and Food Economics Graduate Seminar, Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education. State College, PA: Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education, Pennsylvania State University.
- Lopez Hoffman, L., Feng, X., Huang, T., Lien, A., Swann, A. L., Breshears, D. D., Soto, J. R., Baldwin, E., Nuñez-Regueiro, M. M., Dang, T., Park, D. T., Merideth, R., Ferguson, D. B., Enquist, B. J., & Ernst, K. C. (2018, June). Crops in a Changing World: Hidden Forest-Agriculture Teleconnections. 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. Jyväskylä, Finland: European Congress of Conservation Biology.
- Soto, J. R., Pienaar, E. F., Lai, J. J., & Adams, D. C. (2018, December). Recreation and conservation values of Florida costal systems: an application of multi-profile best worst choice. A Community of Ecosystem Services. Washington DC: A Community of Ecosystem Services.
- Delphin, S., Tanner, S., Marsh, S. E., Snyder, K., Musalem, K., & Soto, J. R. (2020, August). Challenges to implement multi-dimensional land use planning models in developing countries. 2020 Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting. On-line (virtual).
- Feng, X., Lien, A., Huang, T., Swann, A. L., Breshears, D. D., Derbridge, J. J., Baldwin, E., Laguë, M. M., Nuñez-Regueiro, M. M., Soto, J. R., & Lopez Hoffman, L. (2018, August). How does forest die-off affect agriculture thousands of miles away? Revealing the hidden teleconnected network of NEON domains. Ecological Society of America 2018. New Orleans, LA: Ecological Society of America.
- Kennedy, K. A., Lai, J., Adams, D. C., Soto, J. R., & Pienaar, E. F. (2018, March). Palm Beach County Ecosystem Valuation Survey: Implications for Policy Decisions Regarding the Natural Areas Program. University of Florida Undergraduate Research Symposium. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida.
- Soto, J. R., & Escobedo, F. J. (2018, August). Measuring socioecological trade-offs in people's choices among ecosystem services, disservices and functional traits. Ecological Society of America 2018. New Orleans, LA: Ecological Society of America.