Divers' willingness to pay for improved coral reef conditions in Guam: an untapped source of funding for management and conservation?

Grafeld, Shanna, Oleson, Kirsten, Barnes, Michele, Peng, Marcus, Chan, Catherine, and Weijerman, Mariska (2016) Divers' willingness to pay for improved coral reef conditions in Guam: an untapped source of funding for management and conservation? Ecological Economics, 128. pp. 202-213.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.201...
 
8
1


Abstract

Coral reefs are increasingly threatened despite being essential to coastal and island economies, particularly in the Pacific. The diving industry relies on healthy reefs and can be positively and/or negatively impacted by ecological change. Quantifying divers' ecological preferences that influence economic outcomes can help inform managers and justify conservation. Utilizing non-market valuation, we assess SCUBA divers' preferences for ecological attributes of coral reef ecosystems in Guam, estimate WTP for coastal and watershed management, and investigate drivers influencing preferences. A discrete choice experiment grounded in ecosystem modeling reveals divers prefer reefs with greater ecological health (higher fish biomass, diversity, and charismatic species). Individuals with stronger environmental values expressed stronger ecological preferences. Fish biomass improvement from low (<25 g/m²) to high (>60 g/m²) was worth >$2 million/year. The presence of sharks and turtles together was the preeminent attribute, worth $15-20 million/year. Divers are willing to voluntarily contribute ($900thousand) towards watershed sediment-reduction projects that could benefit divers by improving reef conditions. Few policies are in place worldwide collecting fees from divers for coral reef management, and none in Guam. Our results suggest that understanding divers' preferences and the drivers behind them may assist managers in designing policies that capture divers WTP and create partners in conservation.

Item ID: 45460
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: coral reefs, sharks, Guam, ecosystem-based management, tourism
ISSN: 1873-6106
Funders: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Science Foundation (NSF)
Projects and Grants: NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program Grant #817, NSF Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Grant #SMA-1513314
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2016 07:37
FoR Codes: 14 ECONOMICS > 1402 Applied Economics > 140205 Environment and Resource Economics @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 30%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970114 Expanding Knowledge in Economics @ 35%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 35%
Downloads: Total: 1
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page