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The Value of Endangered Forest Elephants for Local Communities in a Conservation Landscape


  • Jonas Ngouhouo Poufoun

    () (Laboratoire d'Economie Forestière, INRA - AgroParisTech
    University of Lorraine
    Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) - Central Africa Regional Office)

  • Jens Abildtrup

    (Laboratoire d'Economie Forestière, INRA - AgroParisTech)

  • Dénis Sonwa

    (Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) - Central Africa Regional Office)

  • Philippe Delacote

    (Laboratoire d'Economie Forestière, INRA - AgroParisTech
    Climate Economic Chair)


The purpose of this paper is to determine and characterize the social and cultural preferences for endangered forest elephants’ conservation in the Congo Basin’s Tridom landscape. The paper uses data from a 2014 representative face-to-face survey with a stratified random sample of 1035, in 108 villages in the Cameroonian and the Gabonese part of the landscape. To assess the willingness-to-pay (WTP) for elephant conservation, the questionnaire included two contingent valuation (CV) elicitation formats: Double Bounded Dichotomous choice (DBDC) and Open-Ended (OP). Combining both elicitation formats is expected to lead to an estimate that is closer to the true WTP. We find on average that local households are willing to pay monthly CFA 1139.4 (€1.74) to avoid forest elephants extinction. That’s CFA 62.8 million (€95,778) for the overall population per month or annually CFA 753.9 million ( €1.15 million). Indigenousness has a positive and significant higher WTP for elephant conservation. This is due to the loss of the spiritual enrichment, the cultural identity as well as the lifestyle of the indigenous Baka Pygmies with an extinction of the elephant. Applying spatial data, we find that local communities prefer elephant far from their crops. The estimates show that the existence of Human-Elephant Conflict does not influence their preferences for elephant conservation. Yet, this result is important, as the hypothetical scenario proposed to the households included the prevention of Forest-Elephant Conflict. Therefore, our study suggests that local communities can be willing to engage in biodiversity preservation, when the public benefit from conservation comes along with private benefits related to the avoidance of Human-Elephant Conflict.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonas Ngouhouo Poufoun & Jens Abildtrup & Dénis Sonwa & Philippe Delacote, 2015. "The Value of Endangered Forest Elephants for Local Communities in a Conservation Landscape," Working Papers - Cahiers du LEF 2015-10, Laboratoire d'Economie Forestiere, AgroParisTech-INRA, revised Oct 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:lef:wpaper:2015-10

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    Cited by:

    1. Jingchao, Zhang & Kotani, Koji & Saijo, Tatsuyoshi, 2018. "Public acceptance of environmentally friendly heating in Beijing: A case of a low temperature air source heat pump," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 75-85.
    2. Ik-Chang Choi & Hyun No Kim & Hio-Jung Shin & John Tenhunen & Trung Thanh Nguyen, 2017. "Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Biodiversity Conservation in South Korea: Correcting for the Endogeneity Bias in Contingent Valuation," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(6), pages 1-20, June.

    More about this item


    Forest Elephant Extinction; indigenous people; Contingent Valuation; WTP; Interval Regression Model; Double-Hurdle Model.;

    JEL classification:

    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics
    • Q29 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Other
    • C24 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Truncated and Censored Models; Switching Regression Models; Threshold Regression Models

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