What's it worth to you? Estimating the public's willingness to pay for biodiversity conservation.Author(s): Jonathan Thompson
Source: Science Findings 77. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 5 p
Publication Series: Science Findings
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
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DescriptionConserving biodiversity in the Oregon Coast Range requires tradeoffs. Policymakers must consider both the costs and benefits of new conservation programs. During this appraisal process, the costs, in terms of economic activity forgone, are often easier to quantify than the benefits. We all know that biodiversity is valuable, but how does its value compare to other important resources and services?
Researchers at the Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station in Corvallis, Oregon, mailed out thousands of surveys to measure the public's willingness to pay for conservation in the Oregon Coast Range. They investigated popular attitudes toward increasing endangered species habitat, salmon and aquatic habitat protection, old-growth forest conservation, and large-scale nature reserves.
Respondents generally showed a preference for the status quo and did not support any reductions in the current level of protection. They were willing to pay for increasing biodiversity conservation but only to an intermediate level, beyond which regulations were seen as burdensome. Of the programs considered, old-growth conservation had the highest level of support. These findings will be useful to policymakers who, until now, had few ways of gauging the public’s preferences.
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CitationThompson, Jonathan. 2005. What''s it worth to you? Estimating the public''s willingness to pay for biodiversity conservation. Science Findings 77. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 5 p
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