Economic valuation of habitat defragmentation: A study of the Veluwe, the Netherlands
This paper offers an economic value assessment of a nature protection programme in the Veluwe, the Netherlands. This programme involves two defragmentation scenarios: the first scenario connects the central part of the Veluwe with river forelands in a north-eastern direction (i.e. the meadows of the IJssel river), while the second scenario is focussed on defragmentation in a south-western direction (i.e. the meadows of the Rhine river). The valuation is based on a questionnaire that was administered during face-to-face interviews in the area and through the Internet. We employ a contingent valuation approach to assess the respondents' willingness to pay for the realisation of the defragmentation scenarios. It appears that the mean willingness to pay (WTP) for the two defragmentation scenarios is [euro] 162.2 (lognormal distribution) per respondent. Because the Veluwe is considered a nature park of national importance, we performed an aggregation of individual WTP estimates over Dutch households. With the resulting aggregate estimates we can compare the total costs and benefits of the two scenarios for habitat defragmentation in the Veluwe. In addition, we test whether respondents value the two scenarios equally. We also check whether the methods of data collection (face-to-face interviews and Internet questionnaires) have distinct influences on the stated WTP responses.
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