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Costs and benefits of forest conservation: regional and local comparisons in Eastern Finland

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In addition to environmental interests vs. timber production, debates on forest conservation have typically dealt with nationwide vs. local and regional interests. While most previous studies have focused on the nationwide perspective, this paper considers the benefits and costs of existing conservation areas from the regional and local point of view. The non-market benefits of conservation are measured by means of contingent valuation. Unlike most discrete-choice CV studies, we allow for zero willingness to pay. The results of our cost-benefit analysis suggest that the aggregate benefits of conservation clearly exceed the total opportunity costs when viewed from a regional (or nationwide) perspective, but at the local level costs exceed the benefits of conservation. Differences were also found in locally vs. regionally relevant benefits and costs.

Keywords: contingent valuation; cost-benefit analysis; local economies; nature conservation; regional economic impact; spike models

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1078/1104-6899-00008

Affiliations: 1: University of Joensuu, Faculty of Forestry, Joensuu, Finland 2: Finnish Forest Research Institute, Helsinki, Finland

Publication date: August 1, 2002

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