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Assessing the non-timber value of old-growth forests in Sweden

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  • Broberg, Thomas

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    (Department of Economics, Umeå University)

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    Abstract

    This paper estimates the public benefit of preserving 126 000 hectares of old-growth forest in the sub-mountainous region of Sweden through contingent valuation. The primary benefit of this in-situ conservation of biodiversity is the forest’s relative diversity and richness, which provides important habitat for threatened species. Thus, benefits arise predominantly from nonuse values. We find that a majority of the Swedish population is unwilling to contribute financially to the preservation project (median WTP equals zero). The estimated mean WTP is SEK 300, implying an aggregate benefit of SEK 9 billion. We estimate two types of valuation functions in order to reject the hypothesis that respondents state random numbers as their WTP. Firstly, a binary logit model indicates that variables related to a respondent’s education level, income level and concern about the environment are positively correlated with the likelihood of supporting the preservation project, while being a male and having an anti-environmental attitude towards public expenditures are negatively correlated. After controlling for whether or not locals are employed in forest-related industries, we find that locals, in general, are more likely to have a positive WTP. Secondly, we estimate a valuation function conditioned on respondents with a positive WTP and find that the size of their contribution is explained by income, general concern about the environment, and the motive underlying their valuation (e.g., use versus nonuse). No differences between locals and non-locals were found.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Umeå University, Department of Economics in its series Umeå Economic Studies with number 712.

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    Length: 22 pages
    Date of creation: 16 May 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:umnees:0712

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    Postal: Department of Economics, Umeå University, S-901 87 Umeå, Sweden
    Phone: 090 - 786 61 42
    Fax: 090 - 77 23 02
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    Web page: http://www.econ.umu.se/
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    Related research

    Keywords: contingent valuation; willingness to pay; social benefit; nonuse values; non-timber value; old-growth forest; preservation; conservation;

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    References

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    1. Bengt Kristr�m, 1997. "Spike Models in Contingent Valuation," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(3), pages 1013-1023.
    2. Johansson,Per-Olov, 1993. "Cost-Benefit Analysis of Environmental Change," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521447928.
    3. Carson, Richard T. & Hanemann, W. Michael, 2006. "Contingent Valuation," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 17, pages 821-936 Elsevier.
    4. Gardner M. Brown & Jason F. Shogren, 1998. "Economics of the Endangered Species Act," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 3-20, Summer.
    5. Nunes, Paulo A. L. D. & van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M., 2001. "Economic valuation of biodiversity: sense or nonsense?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 203-222, November.
    6. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L., 1992. "Valuing public goods: The purchase of moral satisfaction," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 57-70, January.
    7. Richard Carson & Robert Mitchell & Michael Hanemann & Raymond Kopp & Stanley Presser & Paul Ruud, 2003. "Contingent Valuation and Lost Passive Use: Damages from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 25(3), pages 257-286, July.
    8. Cooper, Philip & Poe, Gregory L. & Bateman, Ian J., 2004. "The structure of motivation for contingent values: a case study of lake water quality improvement," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 69-82, September.
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