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Valuing the Environment in Developing Countries

Case Studies

Edited by David Pearce, Corin Pearce and Charles Palmer

In this book, the first of two volumes, the authors provide detailed case studies of valuation techniques that have been used in developing countries. They demonstrate that valuation works and that it can yield significant insights into policy-relevant issues regarding conservation and economic development. The authors address a whole range of environmental issues under the broad themes of water and air quality, biological diversity and forest functions. The economic approaches covered include contingent valuation, hedonic property prices, travel cost methodologies and benefits transfer.
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Chapter 8: Optimal ecotourism: the economic value of the giant panda in China

Case Studies

Andreas Kontoleon, Timothy Swanson, Qiwen Wang and Catherine Yang


Andreas Kontoleon, Timothy Swanson, Qiwen Wang, Qiao Xuejun and Catherine Yang 1 INTRODUCTION China is one of the most rapidly developing countries in the world.1 This implies rapid rates of change in both the natural environment and the social structures throughout this country. This places at risk both the peoples and the places at the fringes of society. The people furthest removed from the centres of economic activity are often the poorest, and the least able to participate in the gains being achieved by others in the country. At the same time, the previously inaccessible regions of the country are being brought under increased pressure, on account of the increased levels of economic activity and on account of the needs of the local populations. In the absence of careful management, it can be anticipated that the combined result will be increased environmental degradation and reduced living standards on the fringes of society (Gadgil,1995). As in many other developing countries, China has responded to the environmental pressures from increased levels of development by establishing nature reserves and other types of protected areas. Nature reserves currently cover about 7 per cent of China’s national territory and were estimated to surpass 10 per cent in the year 2000 (NEPA, 1996).2 The reserves designated for the conservation of the giant panda have attracted the most attention. The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is one of the world’s most easily recognized species. It has served not only as the representative of most environmental agencies...

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