Edited by Paulo A.L.D. Nunes, Pushpam Kumar and Tom Dedeurwaerdere
Chapter 21: Using ecological information in choice experiments to value ecosystem services restoration programmes in East Asia
Since the Law for the Promotion of Nature Restoration in Japan took effect in 2003, a nature restoration programme is being implemented nationwide. In the shallow lake ecosystem of Kushiro Mire wetlands, which was a pioneer project in this programme, an Ecosystem Restoration Strategy was formulated in 2005. As more restoration projects are considered not only in Japan, but also worldwide, it is important to understand public preferences for ecosystem restoration, in order to document the economic benefits of costly restoration projects, and determine efficient restoration goals. We use Lake Takkobu, which is part of the Kushiro Mire wetlands pilot project, as our case study. Lakes and wetlands are productive ecosystems, providing various services ranging from flood and flow control to water quality maintenance, biodiversity and recreational benefits. As wetlands create not only use values but also substantial non-use values (Wilson and Carpenter, 1999; Lupi et al., 2002; Brander et al., 2006), we use the stated preference (SP) technique of choice experiments (CEs) to map public preferences and estimate their use and non-use benefits of restoring ecosystem services. When conducting ecosystem restoration, it is crucial for the government and local residents to set the restoration goals. The restoration goal set would affect local industries, recreational use, restoration costs and so on, and thus conflicts between different stakeholder groups could occur. Therefore, it is important to document the social benefits of different restoration goals (Kiker, 2001), and how these benefits depend on the ecosystem services affected.
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