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Does the economic benefit of biodiversity enhancement exceed the cost of conservation in planted forests?

Richard T. Yao, Riccardo Scarpa, Duncan R. Harrison and Rhys J. Burns

Ecosystem Services, 2019, vol. 38, issue C, -

Abstract: This study evaluates a proposed programme that would sustain and enhance the provision of ecosystem services in planted forests. We focused on the evaluation of the benefits and costs of the conservation of the New Zealand brown kiwi, an iconic yet threatened bird species that inhabits planted forests. Yao et al. (2014) found that a sample of 209 New Zealand (NZ) households would, on average, financially support a brown kiwi conservation programme in planted forests. We extend that study using a proof of concept that integrates economic, ecological and spatial approaches. We undertake this in five steps: 1) supplementing a previous discrete choice experiment survey by interviewing more than 900 additional georeferenced households; 2) estimating household-specific means of marginal willingness-to-pay (WTP) values; 3) using econometrics and geospatial approaches to explore WTP determinants; 4) identifying 12 ecologically and economically feasible ecosystem-service sites and calculate the costs of a conservation programme at each site; and 5) aggregating the public benefits of biodiversity at the regional and national levels and calculate the cost-benefit ratio. We found that the value of the proposed biodiversity conservation initiative at the national level can be more than 100 times higher than the overall cost of the programme.

Keywords: Biodiversity enhancement; Discrete choice experiment; Willingness to pay aggregation; Planted forests; Brown kiwi; New Zealand (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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