A European Perspective
New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Edited by Ekin Birol and Phoebe Koundouri
Chapter 12: Using the Choice Experiment Method to Inform River Management in Poland: Flood Risk Reduction versus Habitat Conservation in the Upper Silesia Region
12. Using the choice experiment method to inform river management in Poland: ﬂood risk reduction versus habitat conservation in the Upper Silesia Region Ekin Birol, Phoebe Koundouri and Yiannis Kountouris INTRODUCTION The Upper Silesia Region of Poland is susceptible to ﬂooding as a result of centuries long mining activities in this area, which have signiﬁcantly changed its landscape. The social, economic and environmental costs of imminent ﬂooding in this region are expected to be very high. The economic costs of the ﬂoods of 1997 and 2001, for example, are estimated to be in the region of one billion USD (Brakenridge et al., 1997; 2001). As a result of global climate change, the frequency and extent of ﬂoods and their corresponding economic costs are expected to increase in the near future, not just in Poland but also in the other EU countries (Nicholls et al., 1999). Consequently, the EU has become more involved in ﬂood risk reduction, aiming to direct funds to projects and policies to alleviate ﬂooding risk in several ﬂood prone areas of member countries, including the Upper Silesia Region of Poland, the case study in this chapter. Land deformation caused by the mining industry and the subsequent ﬂoods has had another consequence. Unique ecological habitats have been formed in the ﬂooded areas, harbouring important biodiversity riches, which should be conserved, according to the ecologists. In addition to the various economic values that these biodiversity-rich areas generate (see for example, Pearce and Moran, 1994; Bennett, 2003), they are...
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