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Comparing Scientist and Public Preferences for Conserving Environmental Systems: A Case of the Kimberley's Tropical Waterways and Wetlands

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  • Abbie Rogers

    (School of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Western Australia)

  • Jonelle Cleland

    (School of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Western Australia)

Abstract

This study uses choice modelling to investigate public and expert preference divergence through a valuation of the Kimberley’s tropical waterways and wetlands in Western Australia. A sample of Australian tropical river scientists participated in an identical survey to the West Australian public. Within the public sample, a split survey design is utilised to examine the effects of information on preferences – a low information version provided sufficient information for respondents to participate in the survey, while a high information version provided a more thorough and detailed description of the attributes. Divergent preferences are apparent between the public and scientist samples. This is illustrated through two key results: first, an attempt to merge the data for each of the samples is rejected; and second, there are differences in conservation preferences. The scientists had stronger preferences to protect system based attributes and threatened species, and were generally not willing to pay to protect iconic attributes. The public, on the other hand, held positive and more evenly spread values for all attributes. Information had an impact on public preferences, particularly through the rejection of a combined low/high information model, but also with respect to the iconic species attribute, where there is a pattern of decreasing willingness to pay as information level increases.

Suggested Citation

  • Abbie Rogers & Jonelle Cleland, 2010. "Comparing Scientist and Public Preferences for Conserving Environmental Systems: A Case of the Kimberley's Tropical Waterways and Wetlands," Environmental Economics Research Hub Research Reports 1080, Environmental Economics Research Hub, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:een:eenhrr:1080
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. McCartney, Abbie & Cleland, Jonelle & Burton, Michael P., 2010. "The Value of Tropical Waterways and Wetlands: does an increase in knowledge change community preferences," Research Reports 95065, Australian National University, Environmental Economics Research Hub.
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    1. Cleland, Jonelle & Rogers, Abbie A., 2010. "Putting the Spotlight on Attribute Definition: a knowledge base approach," Research Reports 107578, Australian National University, Environmental Economics Research Hub.

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