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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 10: Public support for conserving reptile species: stated values for different species and comparative support for their conservation

Clement A. Tisdell

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


This chapter provides a comparative analysis of the stated degree of support (reported by a sample of the Australian public) for the conservation and survival of five different reptile species. In doing so, it takes account of the public’s knowledge of these species, how much individuals like each of the focal reptile species, and other factors such as the degree to which each species is endangered. Consequently, it extends the discussion of the previous two chapters. A feature of the discussion is the particular attention given to the importance of social influences as determinants of how much individuals value different wildlife species and care about their conservation. Most economists in studying the human valuation of wildlife do not account for the influence of social factors on these values. They take the stated or reported values placed by individuals on objects as given and do not explore the genesis of such values. While this may be acceptable from a pragmatic policy point of view, because it determines what individuals want or demand, it lacks depth. By studying how values are generated (and the dynamics of this process), substance can be added to the analysis. Furthermore, studies of social influences on valuation can throw doubts on the moral worth or integrity of some values expressed by individuals about objects, in this particular case about the value of different wildlife species (Kelso, 1977; Tisdell, 2005, p. 10).

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