Using choice experiments to value river and estuary health in Tasmania with individual preference heterogeneity
Choice experiments (CE – otherwise known as Choice Modelling) have become a widespread approach to environmental valuation in Australia, with many examples assessing the tradeoffs between river catchment management and socio-economic impacts. There is, however, limited information on the values of Australian estuaries. Furthermore, none of the existing valuation studies address catchment management changes in Tasmania. The CE study reported in this paper aims to elicit community preferences for the protection of the rivers and estuary of the George catchment in north-eastern Tasmania. Results from conditional and mixed logit models show that respondents are, on average, willing to pay between $2.47 and $4.46 for a km increase in native riverside vegetation and between $9.35 and $10.97 per species for the protection of rare native plants and animals, ceteris paribus. The results are ambiguous about respondents’ preferences for estuary seagrass area. This study further shows significant differences between logit models when accounting for individual heterogeneity and repeated choices made by individual respondents.
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