Environmental valuation, ecosystem services and aquatic species
The thesis consists of an introduction and four articles that can be read independently of each other. The common topic is environmental valuation and cost-benefit analysis. The applications relates to the growing concern of invasive species, and to waterpower externalities. In broad terms, all of the articles relates to water management. Article 1: "A Cost-Benefit analysis of introducing a non-native species: the case of signal crayfish in Sweden", assesses the economic impact of introducing the signal crayfish into a Swedish lake. Two scenarios are set up and compared. The first one assumes that there is no introduction of signal crayfish, so that the noble crayfish is preserved. In the second scenario, the signal crayfish is introduced, which immediately wipes out the entire stock of noble crayfish. The values of noble- and signal crayfish populations are measured as present values of their net future revenues. The values are than compared and net benefit of an introduction is calculated. The result indicate that net benefit of an introduction is positive if the intrinsic growth rate or the carrying capacity of the noble crayfish is below 40 % that of the signal crayfish. Article 2: "Assessing management options for weed control with demanders and non-demanders in a choice experiment", estimates the benefits of having a weed management program for a lake in Sweden, and then compares them with corresponding costs. The policy recommendation from a simple cost-benefit rule is to control the weed at some specific sites of the lake. This paper also suggest how to distinguish those that have a positive WTP for at least one of the attributes (demanders) from those that have zero WTP for all attributes (non-demanders). The advantage of the suggested approach is that it facilitates to more clearly distinguish between conditional and unconditional willingness to pay. The suggested approach could also overcome some of the problems in the literature with negative welfare measures. Article 3: "Assessing transfer errors in the benefit transfer method: An application of invasive weed management using choice experiment", tests the accuracy of transferring benefits of a weed management program from one lake to another using choice experiment. The transfer errors are assessed and the convergent validity hypothesis is tested. Estimating the accuracy of benefit transfer for weed management is policy relevant as there are a number of lakes in Sweden infested with the water weed. The convergent validity was rejected for three out of five welfare estimates with a ten per cent significance level. Article 4: "Willingness to pay for environmental improvements in hydropower regulated rivers", assesses the benefits of environmental improvements along hydropower regulated rivers using choice experiments. Remedial measures that improve the conditions for fish, benthic invertebrates and river-margin vegetation were found to have a significant welfare increasing impact. The results can be of value for the implementation of the Water Framework Directives in Sweden, which aims to reform the use of all surface water and ground water in the member states.
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