UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Wilderness preservation and protection of old-growth forests Watson, Victoria G


This research on the benefits of increased wilderness preservation has entailed the development of contingent valuation surveys to elicit consumer’s WTP for the province of British Columbia. The study came about after the Protected Areas Strategy (PAS) proposed an additional 6% of B.C.’s land base be set aside for protection. Two surveys were used, one survey was distributed province-wide, while the other was issued to third and fourth year university students in both land use and forestry economics. A dichotomous choice format was chosen as the most appropriate approach due to its simplistic nature and its success in previous studies. Similarly, a logistic model was applied to calculate the probability of a person agreeing to pay to a pre-determined offer amount. The results of the province-wide survey indicated that respondents valued additional wilderness protection in British Columbia at $371.34 per household per year. Aggregating this amount to include all B.C. households yielded a value of $484 million per year. The results of the classroom survey showed that the respondent’s WTP was $326 per year for a total of $716 million when aggregated for the whole adult population in B.C. The differnce between WTP values between surveys is partly due to the fact that the WTP for the classroom survey is on a per person basis while the estimated WTP for the provincial survey is on a per household basis. Similarly, the province-wide survey included individuals of all educational backgrounds while the classroom survey included only individuals with post secondary education. Finally, while the Government of B.C. has decided to increase the level of wilderness protection to 12 percent, the average desired level of protection for both surveys used in this paper was 10.75 percent.

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