Latent preferences and valuation of wetland ecosystem restoration
Abbreviated Journal Title
wetlands; environmental values; latent class models; ecosystem services; everglades; DISCRETE-CHOICE ANALYSIS; CONTINGENT VALUATION; EVERGLADES RESTORATION; WELFARE ECONOMICS; SOUTH FLORIDA; MIXED LOGIT; MODELS; POLICY; PSYCHOLOGY; PARADIGM; Ecology; Economics; Environmental Sciences; Environmental Studies
We employ a latent class choice model to evaluate the effects of alternative ecological characterizations of wetland functions and services on individual preferences, and to determine whether socioeconomic factors and psychometric measures of environmental attitudes can explain differences in individual's preferences and values for wetland restoration. This analysis combines a multiattribute choice model with information on individual's characteristics to evaluate preferences for restoration of the Greater Everglades ecosystem, one of the largest and most comprehensive wetland ecosystem restoration projects. To identify potential endpoints for Everglades restoration, two alternative ecological characterizations of the ecosystem were developed using the familiar distinction between function and structure. Survey data from a representative sample of the general population were used in a split-sample design based on the ecological characterization treatment. Within each subsample, the latent class analysis identified three groups who varied in their preferences for ecosystem restoration and socioeconomic profiles. The ecological characterizations had a significant influence on respondents' preferences and willingness to pay (WTP). The subsample responding to the structural characterization had a significantly larger share of respondents in the group who favored proposed restoration plans than the functional attribute subsample. In both subsamples, the group who favored restoration had a higher WTP for restoration than other groups. The latent class analysis also revealed socioeconomic and attitudinal factors that explain some of the heterogeneity in preferences and WTP within each subsample; this heterogeneity would not be identified with a standard choice model. In the context of Everglades restoration, the results provide a baseline assessment of public support and WTP that suggests an emphasis on structural rather than functional restoration endpoints. The approach described in this article can be used in other policy studies of wetland ecosystems because multiple ecosystem services can be represented within a stated choice survey and differences in preferences and values for these services can be measured. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
"Latent preferences and valuation of wetland ecosystem restoration" (2006). Faculty Bibliography 2000s. 6440.