Estimating the preservation value of environmental resources of Abar area of Shahrood by using individual’s willingness to pay

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources Agricalture University . University . Gorgan University

2 Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources


Estimating the preservation economics value of environmental resources by using individual’s willingness to pay
Valuation of non-market functions and services of the natural resources and the environment is important due to some reasons including understanding the environmental and ecological benefits by humans, feedback of the importance of environmental issues to the planners, creating the relation among economic policies and incomes from natural resources, measuring the role and importance of the environmental resources in improving the welfare of society and sustainable development, adjusting and reforming the national accounts such as gross national product (GNP), and preventing the uncontrolled destruction and exploitation of natural resources. The maximum willingness to pay (MWTP) by the users for non-market goods such as improving the quality of the environment, wildlife, and forests represents the economic value of the resources (Kealy and Turner 1993). In recent years, economists and policy makers have used CVM to estimate this value and the other economic values.
The Contingent Valuation Method (CVM) is applied as a standard and flexible tool to measure the use and non-use values of the environment for which there is no market (Amigues et al. 2002). This method was firstly introduced by Ciriacy and Wantrup in 1947 and also it was for the first time used by Davis in 1963. This method specifies the individual’s willingness to pay (WTP) in the form of hypothetical tools (Han and Lee 2002). The evaluator in this method refers to the people in order to determine the economic value of the goods and environmental services of the environment such as wetlands and then measures their preferences based on the offered prices. That’s why CVM is often called as the preferred method, too (Venkatachalam 2003).
The objective of this research is evaluation WTP of the individuals who were categorized into two different groups of consequentialists and deontologists to estimate the conservation value of the Abar watershed of Shahrood that located in the Semnan Province. Also, was determined the factors affecting on the WTP to estimate the conservation value of the study area.

Matherials & Methods
Contingent Valuation Method (CVM) was used in this research to determine the conservation value. The WTP is determined under the certain hypothetical market scenarios. Dichotomous Choice (DC) methods are more consistent than the other methods of extracting the WTP due to motivating the respondents (Lee and Han 2002). In this research Double –bounded Dichotomous Choice (Hanemann 1994 and Carson 1985) questionnaire was designed to do the interview and to extract the respondents WTP to determine the conservation value of the region in order to make aware the respondents completely from the condition of hypothetical market. The questions of questionnaire were about the socio-economic characteristics affecting individual preference (Such as the age, gender, education, the number of family members and so on) and the WTP for each member of the family. Finally, the individual WTP was questioned using a Double –bounded Dichotomous Choice. The simple random sampling method was used as for sampling in population
To determine the offered prices in the Double –bounded Dichotomous Choice Method, 35 open-end questionnaires were completed and the respondents were asked about the maximum WTP. Finally, the offered prices were calculated. The WTP amount (middle, minimum and maximum) was obtained through asking the basic questions. In accordance with the statistical procedures, 20,000, 10,000, 20,000 Rials have been stated respectively as the middle, minimum and maximum offered prices to protect the Abar watershed of Shahrood. The Logit model parameters were estimated using maximum likelihood by Shazam software.
Discussion of result
The results have been presented 60% of the respondents were male and 80% of the respondents were married. The average age of the respondents was 37.4 years. The average of the variable of cost were 16.44 billion Rials per month. The average household size of the visitors of the region was 3.7 persons. Almost 1% of the respondents were members of the environmental organizations. The average number of the times that the region was visited was estimated to be 3.4. 18 % of the respondents declared their willingness to participate in the conservation of the region. Based on the results, most of the respondents stated that they are willing to pay to protect the vegetation cover in the region due to the regulatory functions of vegetation cover including climate regulation, carbon dioxide absorption, reducing soil erosion and so on. According to the results, the questions of the WTP are asked in this way that the middle option is firstly asked. If the respondents give a negative answer to the question, then the lowest offered price will be asked of the respondents and if the respondents give a positive answer, then the highest offered prices will be asked. Based on result, 63 individuals of the respondents (18%) are willing to pay for the conservation of Abar watershed.
Based on the logit model results, the coefficient of the variables of age and income are significant at the level of 1% and the variables of the financial Affordability, gender, married, cost, visit number and bid are significant at the level of 5% and effect on the willingness to pay. Based on the theory, the sign of the estimated coefficient of the bid is negative which indicates that if the offered price for protecting the area increases the probability of the acceptance for paying a given amount will decrease. LR test statistic was used in the Logit model to assess the significance of the whole model and goodness of fit. The amount of this statistic was 62.68. Being significant of this statistic indicates that the estimated model is significant in general. The results reveal that almost 91% of the respondents were correctly allocated to predicted WTP either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in the model, indicating a relatively good fit to the data. Based on the results of the study, mean of willingness to pay for preserving was estimated about 10574 Rials and preservation value of family was about 126889 Rial in year. Also annually preservation value of watershed was about 27353.6 Million Rial in year.
Carrying out this study in the current situation is an important step to protect the protected areas and the natural resources and to move towards the sustainable development. The economic, political, and social planners and decision-makers always emphasize on the cost-benefit analysis in their decisions. Such analyses are based on the quantity and the monetary units. Therefore, the economic valuation of the protected areas is important and as long as the fans of the nature and its conservation cannot determine the value of the services based on the monetary units, the important services and functions of the protected areas and natural resources which are largely out of the market will be ignored. In terms of the management, results of this research are very hopeful especially because the results indicate that the natural resources and specially the Abar watershed are important for people. The results can justify planners, authorities, and policy makers to protect the quantity and quality of the natural resources and to prevent of putting aside the natural resources and the environment due to the lack of supporting by the governments.
The estimated economic conservation value does not represent the value of the entire ecosystem of the region. In the other words, the ecosystem of the study area has many other values that can be demonstrated. Some of them consist of the biological control of pests, pollination, water and soil conservation, medicinal plants and byproducts, capture and storage of carbon dioxide and producing the oxygen, biological diversity, preventing soil erosion, combating with the air pollution, reducing the noise, adjusting and softening the climate, creating green space and landscape and natural scenery, increasing the groundwater resources and flowingly the springs and rivers, and so on that their values should be estimated.


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