The Value of Native Bird Conservation: A New Zealand Case Study
During December 2007 and January 2008, telephone surveys were used to randomly sample Waikato, New Zealand residents. The purpose of the surveys was to determine whether respondents valued native bird conservation programmes in their area. We elicited the contingent valuation approach to determine the value in terms of their willingness-to-pay (WTP) to support regional conservation initiatives aimed at protecting, or restoring, native bird populations. Results indicated that local birdlife was regarded positively by residents and that they were in favour of local conservation and restoration initiatives. 86% of respondents were willing-to-pay an annual addition to their rates (taxes) to support these initiatives. Conservatively, the value of native bird conservation in the region was approximately $13 million (2008 NZ$). Willingness to support these initiatives depended strongly on income, ethnicity and age. The positive WTP for additional regional rates for local birdlife conservation suggests that there could potentially be an underinvestment in birdlife conservation in the Waikato region, and that regional bodies could draw upon local funding, as opposed to relying on central government funding, to support these initiatives.
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