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Public Values for Biodiversity Conservation Policies in the Oregon Coast Range

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Abstract:

This study uses a choice experiment framework to estimate Oregonians' willingness to pay (WTP) for changes in levels of biodiversity protection under different conservation programs in the Oregon Coast Range. We present biodiversity policy as an amalgam of four different conservation programs: salmon and aquatic habitat conservation, forest age-class management, endangered species protection, and large-scale conservation reserves. The results indicate substantial support for biodiversity protection, but significant differences in WTP across programs. Oregonians indicate the highest WTP for increasing the amount of forest devoted to achieving old-growth characteristics. On average, respondents indicate an annual household WTP of $380 to increase old-growth forests from 5% to 35% of the age-class distribution. Conversely, WTP for increasing conservation reserves peaks at $45 annually to double the current level to 20% of the landscape, whereas WTP is negative for any increase over 32%. We also find resistance to any change in conservation policy, which substantially offsets WTP for increases in all four conservation programs. FOR. SCI. 50(5):589–602.

Keywords: Choice experiment; Oregon forests; conjoint analysis; ecosystem management; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; willingness to pay

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Research Economist Pacific Northwest Research Station USDA Forest Service 3200 SW Jefferson Way Corvallis OR 97331 Phone: 541-758-7756;, Fax: 541-750-7329, Email: Brian.Garber-Yonts@orst.edu 2: Professor Department of Economics Oregon State University Corvallis OR 97331 Phone: 541-737-1482, Email: Joe.Kerkvliet@orst.edu 3: Professor Department of Forest Resources Oregon State University Corvallis OR 97331 Phone: 541-737-1492, Email: Rebecca.Johnson@orst.edu

Publication date: October 1, 2004

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