Estimating Conservation Value of “Dashtenaze Sari” Wildlife Refuge, and Factors Affecting the Willingness to Pay for Site Conservation

Authors

1 Department of Agricultural Economics, Islamic Azad University, Qaemshahr Branch, Qaemshahr, Iran

2 Student at Agricultural Economics Department, Islamic Azad University, Qaemshahr Branch, Qaemshahr, Iran

Abstract

Forests and rangelands are the most important natural ecosystems which provide many economic benefits to the society due to their biodiversity and ecological functionalities. Dashtenaz wildlife refuge, Sari, is a sylvan region, covering 55 ha of rangeland with abundant diversity, is refuge of an endangered species of deer called Dama mesopotamica. In this study, Contingent Valuation Method (CVM) and dichotomous choice were used to estimate the conservation value of this region in 2014. Moreover, the Logit regression model has been used to calculate individual’s Willingness to Pay (WTP), and parameters have been estimated based on maximum likelihood method. Firstly 35 questionnaires were distributed among the sample members. Validity and reliability of questionnaire were examined by experts and Cronbach`s Alpha test (0.84), respectively. Cochrane formula and random sampling method were used to estimate the sample size. Then, 429 questionnaires were selected in the cities surrounding rangeland (Sari, Behshahr, Miandorood, and Neka). Results showed that 77% of respondents were willing to pay for conserving the rangeland. On the other hand, variables such as bid (the amount of money proposed to respondents to pay for conserving rangeland), monthly income, level of responsibility, financial capability, environmental orientations, the number of visits and educations, had significant impact on individual’s WTP for area conservation at 1 to 10 percent level. In addition, per capita WTP for conserving Dashtenaze Sari has been calculated about 0.3 $ monthly and the annual value of Dashtenaze Sari per hectare was 18125 $.

Keywords


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