Estimating the benefits of restoration And preservation scenarios of marine biodiversity: An application of the contingent valuation method
Marine biodiversity provides valuable benefits for human beings. Some of these benefits, such as the provision of food, are easily recognized, while some, such as climate regulation, are less well-known. People lack direct experience of the economic value of marine biodiversity, since no relevant market exists. This study reports the results of a contingent valuation study to estimate people’s willingness to pay (WTP) for biodiversity restoration and conservation scenarios in some unique coralligenous habitats in the North Adriatic Sea, Italy.
Coralligenous habitat constitutes one of the most important ‘hot spots’ of species diversity in the Mediterranean, notoriously affected by a loss of biodiversity as a consequence of human activities, such as over-fishing and pollution, sediment deposition, recreational fishing, trawling, and diving. A major threat is the increasing frequency of abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing gear at sea.
A sample of 4000 Italian people was surveyed, and the results show that people’s WTP for interventions aimed at improving biodiversity through the removal and restoration operations in the area is distinctly higher than is the WTP for the preservation and prevention of further biodiversity loss. The findings suggest that respondents perceive prevention and control activities as being embedded in restoration, the benefits of which can be seen within a certain time frame. Positive and significant determinants of respondents’ WTP are family income, knowledge of biodiversity in coralligenous habitat, previous cognizance and awareness of marine biodiversity issues, environmental friendly behavior, and concern for environmental quality.