Knowledge and Willingness to Pay for the Conservation of Wildlife Species: Experimental Results Evaluating Australian Tropical Species
The nature of an experiment involving 204 residents is outlined and the results are reported and analysed. Two consecutive surveys of the respondents provide data about their stated knowledge of 23 wildlife species present in tropical Australia, most of which exclusively occur there. In addition, these surveys provide data about the willingness of respondents to pay for the conservation of those species belonging to three taxa; reptiles, mammals, and birds. Thus it is possible to compare the respondents’ stated knowledge of the species with their willingness to pay for their conservation, and to draw relevant inferences from this. From the initial survey and these associations, interesting relationships can be observed between those variables (knowledge and willingness to pay). The second survey was completed after the respondents’ knowledge of the species was experimentally increased and became more balanced. This is shown to result in increased dispersion (greater discrimination) in willingness to contribute to conservation of the different species in the set of wildlife species considered. Both theoretical and policy conclusions are drawn from the results.
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