Non-market economic valuation of the benefits provided by temperate ecosystems at the extreme south of the Americas
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The island of Navarino, Chile, located at the extreme southern end of the Americas, is one of the few regions in the world with undivided and only slightly transformed temperate forests. Currently, fundamental issues are being addressed, such as how local fuel wood demands will be met without destroying primary forests and how a sustainable tourism industry may be developed. This study aims to inform these planning processes by providing data on the economic valuation of several nonmarket benefits provided by the temperate ecosystems of Navarino Island that have relevance to the local population. We focus this valuation on landscape esthetics, nature access restrictions, esthetic and ethno-symbolic benefits at the species level and the existence value of non-vascular endemic species. A choice experiment was applied to a sample of local residents (n = 230). Decisions about future development strategies were influenced by landscape esthetics being threatened by progressing levels of tourist infrastructure, nature access restrictions in favor of both economic and conservationist concerns, continued visits of an ethno-culturally important hummingbird, the protection of a moss endemic to the sub-Antarctic forests and species diversity. From a non-market valuation perspective, local residents favor a low-impact tourism development scenario. Little is known about the monetary value of Chile’s temperate forests. Knowledge of the economic value of Navarino’s temperate forests facilitates the understanding of local natural resource management at the microlevel and assists in formulating conservation policies at the regional and national levels.
Artículo de publicación ISI
DOI: DOI 10.1007/s10113-014-0591-2