Assessing the value of species: a case study on the willingness to pay for species protection in Chile
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We conduct a valuation of species protection in central Chile's Campana National Park (CNP) using the choice experiment (CE) method. The CNP has been recognized as having global relevance for the conservation of biological diversity. Specifically, the aim is to estimate thewillingness to pay (WTP) of park visitors for protection of different protected species in the area: popular species of flora and fauna that are known by visitors of the park, inconspicuous species (phytofagous, fungus) that are unknown to visitors, and species with conservation problems of which visitors are unaware. We also investigate the WTP for different levels of species biodiversity protection within the sample as the WTP for biodiversity protection is sensitive to the way in which biodiversity is presented to respondents. The levels of species biodiversity protection are represented using “icon” inconspicuous species and numbers of inconspicuous species protected in La Campana National Park. This methodology allowed us to obtain information on the sensitivity of the participants to the scope of the information provided. Overall, visitors attach positive and significant values to the local conservation of species. These values are derived not only from the desire to preserve popular species in the area but also from the preservation or assured existence of inconspicuous species that are protected in the park. Visitors behave as consumers who are sensitive to changes in the price of park admission as a result of the implementation of specific strategies for wildlife conservation management in the park. Furthermore, the study also elucidates the observations that the public is able to perceive biodiversity conservation in broader terms than a single species and that greater benefits are attached to the conservation of multiple species than single ones. Results also provide insights into methodological considerations regarding the conceptual framework used to assess the valuation of biodiversity changes in developing countries, including the level of biological diversity and the scale of the change.
Artículo de publicación ISI
DOI: DOI 10.1007/s10661-013-3346-5