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Human Values and Biodiversity Conservation

Human Values and Biodiversity Conservation

The Survival of Wild Species

Clement A. Tisdell

This pioneering book explores the influence of human values on the willingness of individuals to pay for the conservation of individual wildlife species (and classes of these), to be for or against their survival, and to favour or oppose their harvesting.

Chapter 3: Changed values and increased support for wildlife conservation as a result of ecotourism: a sea turtle study

Clement A. Tisdell

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, ecological economics, environmental economics


Economists do not, as a rule, study factors that cause a shift in the preference functions of individuals but usually take preference functions as given. On the other hand, given preference functions, they pay considerable attention to factors that affect the comparative valuation of commodities and alternative courses of action. Both shapes and shifts of preference functions can be important when assessing the amount of support for nature conservation and changes in that support. To some extent, the value placed on different species of wildlife is culturally (socially) determined (Tisdell et al., 2006; see also Chapter 10 in this book) and responsibilities felt for taking care of nature alter with the passage of time (Passmore, 1974). Furthermore, the experiences of individuals with particular wildlife species can change their apparent valuation of these species and their willingness to support their conservation. For instance, responses to a survey of visitors who came to Mon Repos turtle rookery in Queensland to view and learn about marine turtles provided evidence that, on average, their experiences significantly increased their stated willingness to provide financial and other forms of support for the conservation of sea turtles (Tisdell and Wilson, 2002). Although results from the Mon Repos survey have been reported and discussed elsewhere (for example, in Tisdell and Wilson, 2002, and most recently in Tisdell, 2013), the purpose of this chapter is to provide additional assessment of these results and place them in a broad economic perspective.

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