Date of Award

1998

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

E. Jane Luzar

Abstract

This research estimated the passive use value of local species biodiversity in the Tensas River basin, a section of the Lower Mississippi River Valley. This research employed the contingent valuation method in eliciting willingness to pay for biodiversity conservation using the habitat needs of an umbrella species as a basis for valuation. This study designed and implemented the Lower Mississippi Valley Plant and Wildlife Survey for primary data collection. The sample included 1,351 households drawn from a hunting permit lottery conducted by the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge and 3,044 households drawn at random from Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi. The survey distinguished between area users and nonusers to examine differences in valuation. In a probit analysis of the nonuser group's responses to a dichotomous choice willingness to pay question, the value of a biodiversity conservation program was positively related to the respondent's education, income, concern over loss of natural habitat, knowledge of the decline in species' numbers, and attitudes concerning the fragility of the nature. The value of biodiversity conservation was negatively correlated with the number of minors residing in the household. For the user sample, the value of biodiversity was positively related to the respondent's hunting skill, concern for the loss of wild habitat, and knowledge of the decline in plant and animal species. Due to evidence of structural differences between the nonuser and user sample, this study adopts the recommendation of Silberman, Gerlowski, and Williams (1992) to exclude users from passive use valuation. This research conducted multinomial logit analysis to examine the distinction between respondents in the nonuser sample who provided positive, negative and uncertain responses. Positive responses were positively related to education, income, concern for the loss of natural habitat, knowledge of the decline in plant and animal species, and attitudes concerning the fragility of nature and negatively related to the number of minors in the household. Negative responses were negatively related to income, knowledge of the term "biodiversity", attitudes regarding the fragility of nature, and anti-anthropocentric attitudes. Uncertain responses were negatively related to knowledge of the decline in species' numbers.

ISBN

9780591766660

Pages

227

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