This study was motivated by the necessity to develop social but not necessarily monetary techniques to characterize the connections between ecological processes and society. Given this goal, we analyzed social support for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service delivery in semi-arid environments in Spain, based on the willingness to give up time. We took into consideration different types of conservation activities and different ecosystem service categories. In addition, we explored the effect of the respondent's place of residence and gender. Overall, the satisfaction of conserving species continues to be the prominent driving force in engaging public support for conservation programs over ecosystem services. However, we found significant differences by place of residence and gender, with implications for the promotion of social engagement. Urban respondents were particularly interested in allocating time to activities associated with protected-area programs, while rural inhabitants were willing to engage in activities related to cultural services. With respect to gender, women were highly motivated to support activities that enhance rural areas. The results show that the willingness to give up time reflects socio-cultural factors behind consumer preferences. In addition, its application could promote collaborative work and strengthen community values and beliefs.
Keywords: Conservation activity, Ecosystem service, Rural area, Semi-arid Spain, Socio-cultural value, Willingness to give up time