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Chapter 9: Bioindicator-based Stated Preference Valuation for Aquatic Habitat and Ecosystem Service Restoration
1 Robert J. Johnston, Eric T. Schultz, Kathleen Segerson and Elena Y. Besedin INTRODUCTION Because human welfare derived from the restoration of aquatic ecological systems can include non-use components, applications of stated preference (SP) valuation such as choice experiments are often required for comprehensive welfare evaluation. Many recent studies apply SP techniques to assess willingness-to-pay (WTP) for policies that affect the ecology of aquatic systems (for example, Bateman et al., 2006; Birol et al., 2008; Boyer and Polasky, 2004; Do and Bennett, 2009; Flores and Shafran, 2006; Hanley et al., 2006; Holmes et al., 2004; Johnston et al., 2002; Loomis et al., 2000; Milon and Scrogin, 2006; Morrison and Bennett, 2004; Morrison et al., 2002). In these and other studies, the validity of resulting welfare estimates depends on an appropriate integration of ecological and economic information (Johnston et al., 2002). To date, the integration of ecological information within SP methods has been limited. Despite substantial attention among natural scientists to the properties of ecological indicators used to characterize ecosystem function and change, SP surveys often communicate such information using ecologically ambiguous, ad hoc descriptors. Measures of change in aquatic living resources presented in SP surveys, for example, are rarely developed within the context of established models or formal indicators from the ecological literature, and are frequently based on imprecisely defined measurement units. Common examples in the broader valuation literature include frequent use of terms such as low, medium or high biodiversity (for example, Birol et al., 2008; Carlsson et al...
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