Colorado mountains
From Long-Term Data to Understanding: Toward a Predictive Ecology
2015 LTER ASM Estes Park, CO - August 30 - September 2, 2015

Moving beyond the exchange value: A deductive approach to nonmarket valuation and implications for conservation policy

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Poster Number: 
Presenter/Primary Author: 
Karen Allen
Rebecca Moore

Conservation policy increasingly emphasizes the exchange value of ecosystem services as the impetus for ecosystem conservation. Nonmarket valuation, a subfield of environmental economics, has grown to meet the demand for the assessment of accurate exchange values of these environmental services for ease of incorporation into policy. This one-sided approach to ecosystem service valuation has led to a debate across the social and natural sciences as to the ability of an exchange value to accurately reflect the multifaceted values of ecosystems. This poster shows how the stated choice experiment, a nonmarket valuation method, can be used to understand public preferences for policy design, as well as the impact of a particular policy. We use data from two separate choice experiments, analyzed with latent class logits, to demonstrate how this methodology can be used to understand general population preferences for ecosystem service regulation. The first choice experiment was implemented as part of the Coweeta LTER research initiative, in Macon County North Carolina, where residents were asked about willingness to pay for stream ecosystem services. The second choice experiment occurred in the Bellbird Biological Corridor of Costa Rica, where landowners were asked about willingness to accept a government subsidy for providing ecosystem services on their farms. Though these experiments were designed differently and carried out in diverse contexts, a similar deductive approach to data analysis was used in both cases to understand population preferences for conservation policy. The insights into policy design arrived at from this approach suggest that this methodology can help policy makers move beyond the discussion of the precise exchange value of ecosystem services, toward a more holistic understanding of the relationship between humans and their environments.

Student Poster Competition: