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Managing Wetlands

An Ecological Economics Approach

Edited by R. Kerry Turner, Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh and Roy Brouwer

The extensive destruction of wetlands across Europe represents a significant loss of biodiversity along with its related economic, cultural, ethical and scientific benefits. This volume addresses the critical issues surrounding this environmental change process, employing a range of analytical methods drawn from a variety of disciplines which bridge the social and natural science divide.
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Chapter 5: A Meta-Analysis of Wetland Ecosystem Valuation Studies

R. Brouwer, I.H. Langford, I.J. Bateman and R.K. Turner


1 R. Brouwer, I.H. Langford, I.J. Bateman and R.K. Turner 1 INTRODUCTION This chapter addresses the socio-economic values of the various functions performed by wetland ecosystems. Environmental economists have developed a variety of techniques for measuring such values of which the contingent valuation (CV) method is probably the most widely applied in contemporary research. CV is a survey method where individuals are presented with information about specific environmental changes, and their perception, attitudes and preferences regarding these changes are elicited. In order to measure the effect of the suggested changes on people’s welfare, respondents are typically asked for either their willingness to pay (WTP) or their willingness to accept (WTA) compensation for the gains or losses involved (Mitchell and Carson, 1989). Of these options the WTP approach has become the most frequently applied and has been given peer review endorsement through a variety of studies (see, for example, Arrow et al., 1993). When aggregated across those who will be affected by the suggested environmental changes, this stated WTP amount is used as a socio-economic indicator of the environmental values involved. Given the substantial indirect, often off-site, use and non-use values involved, wetlands have been the focus of attention in several CV studies (Crowards and Turner, 1996). Many of these studies try to estimate the total economic value of wetlands. Total economic value consists of use and non-use values (Pearce and Turner, 1990). CV is the only economic method to date which is able, in principle, to account for possible non-use...

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