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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 11: The economic value of pollution damage in the Pantanal

Case Studies

Dominic Moran and André Steffens Moraes


Dominic Moran and André Steffens Moraes 1 INTRODUCTION The complexity of much environmental change represents a challenge for policy appraisal in many parts of the world. While many major projects are subjected to some form of environmental impact assessment, the qualitative nature of these studies often only highlights the irreducible nature of environmental complexity rather than offering direction on whether or not a project increases overall welfare. Other means of summarizing environment-related welfare changes have therefore become more prominent, and contingent valuation in particular appears to be graduating from a predominantly academic pastime to a policy requirement. The adoption of contingent valuation (CV) has much to do with the plurality of inseparable use and non-use values associated with environmental goods (Cummings and Harrison, 1995). If the non-use advantage of CV is valid, the method offers a distinct improvement over other revealed value approaches despite the disadvantages of an absent ‘behavioural trail’. In this chapter, contingent valuation is applied to estimate potential nonuse damages to the Pantanal ecosystem from adverse agricultural and mining activity. In contrast to existing CV studies conducted in Brazil (Briscoe et al., 1990), the study focuses on non-use values related to ecosystem health and water pollution. We concentrate on a group of resource users, but the issue under consideration is of a passive use nature. The study is similar in spirit to applications to other complex goods such as aquatic habitat (see Whittington et al., 1994), valuation of landscapes (Willis et al., 1995) and...

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