Valuing biodiversity enhancement in New Zealand's planted forests: Socioeconomic and spatial determinants of willingness-to-pay

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Journal Article
Ecological Economics, 2014, 98 pp. 90 - 101
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Planted forests are increasingly recognised for the provision of habitats for species threatened with extinction. Despite this development, a limited number of empirical studies have been undertaken to estimate the economic value of this ecosystem service. New Zealand's planted forests provide habitat to at least 118 threatened species. These forests can be managed to increase the abundance of many of these species. We present findings from survey data obtained in a discrete choice experiment designed to estimate the non-market values for a proposed biodiversity enhancement programme in New Zealand's planted forests. We used a two-stage modelling process. First we estimated the individual specific willingness to pay values and then we explored their socio-economic and spatial determinants. The first stage modelling process, which used a random parameters logit model with error components, suggested that willingness to pay was higher for increasing the abundance of native bird than for non-bird species. The second stage model used a least squares panel random-effects regression. Results from this method suggested that socioeconomic characteristics, such as attitudes toward the programme and distance from large planted forests, influenced willingness to pay for biodiversity enhancement. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
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