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Abstract

This study is an example of how a nonmarket valuation method – a choice experiment – can be used to influence and guide ecosystem conservation efforts. Using a choice experiment survey, this study estimates the willingness to pay (WTP) for certain hypothetical attributes of a restored and conserved coral reef in Okinawa, Japan. I find that an increase in the amount of fish available to catch in ten years as well as an increase in the extent and health of the coral reefs and the number of marine biodiversity found in the Okinawan waters after ten-years, both positively affect respondent’s utility. This implies that these conservation success measures should be taken into account in conservation planning in research in the future. Deeper analysis reveals that residents are, on average, willing to pay about ¥30 more per month for a 10% increase in in the amount of fish available for catch if the local community establishes the marine protected areas and the same residents are, on average, willing to pay around ¥50 more per month for a 10% increase in the extent and health of marine biodiversity in the Okinawan waters if the local community establishes the marine protected areas. Moreover, tourists are willing to pay more for each conservation success attribute than are residents. While income is a factor, the fact that tourists come to Okinawa in order to interact with marine life also must be a factor in the tourists’ higher willingness to contribute to these conservation success attributes

 

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