« ECON 255: Readings for Thursday | Main | Cuba - First intro to Sustainable Development »



Chris Osier

I understand the value of this type of survey in attempting to value something that is a NMV. However, on a global scale is there anything along these lines that is even close to applicable for services that are not recreational? Breathing clean air and drinking clean water are two things people must do to survive, so how do we price something we can not live without? It can't be priceless, otherwise it is just a market failure. Is there any surveying method that does not take a thousand years to complete that can value this? or is this the inherent problem with NMV's that are on this large of a scale? Granted, we could subsidize the costs for personal protection from these horrible substances rather than use remediation techniques to lessen them. But then we would be at a point where remediation is not possible (point of no return). Also, in this article they use value ranges, but when you scale these numbers up for a global scale, would it not be extremely probable for over/under valuing something such as clean air? I do not understand how, on a global level, it is possible for any conservation plan can accurately assign a value to something that is inherently priceless. Thus do we value the condition? Such that the cleaner the air gets, the less likely we are to continue to use remediation techniques due to the higher costs included with "removing" the last units of pollution?

Chantal Iosso

Although the results of this individual study are promising, in that they suggest that much more money could be collected from scuba divers to go towards creating a better reef system overall, it does seem daunting to try to apply these techniques on a larger scale. The cost of performing this kind of research over a large area with many variables would be enormous, and the research itself would take a long time. Also, for some areas, the same type of non-market valuations strategies would not work. For example, remote forested areas without trails or much value for recreation would have no value using this technique, although obviously forested area is valuable. Another example is wetland or mangrove forest area; obviously, they play a huge role in serving as a nursery for many species, among other things. However, they also don’t smell good, and take up valuable coast-front property. For people living near a wetland or mangrove forest, it might be appealing to get rid of the swampy, stinky area and replace it with a nice man-made beach. Property value would skyrocket, as would recreation value. Obviously, this action has an environmental cost, but it is one that is far more difficult to determine, and it is possible that, per certain unit of area of wetland, the potential benefit of its removal exceeds its protected value. Sometimes, such as with the intact reefs of Barbados, things humans value overlap with what is best for the ecosystem, but as is clear in the wetland example, this is not always the case. An anthropocentric viewpoint that this type of research automatically considers is problematic, and even if it worked for protecting all of Earth’s valuable assets, the scale and cost of research would be massive. For that reason, I don’t think information or techniques from this study could have wide reaching implications.


There is an inherent irony in that only those who have had the pleasure of diving in Barbados truly understand the value of the experience. I worry that there is no solution to a valuation problem such as this one that does not have sufficient existence value. I have never been to Barbados, so attributing any value to an experience I’ve never had is difficult. But there is one natural environment I’ve witnessed change dramatically since I was young.

When I go to the beach on Florida’s Panhandle, I am always taken aback by the diminishing number of dunes, the far less common turtle nesting areas and the sheer volume of new construction on what my own father remembers as barren but beautiful beaches that hosted few men and immeasurable natural resources. Now, the overdevelopment of Highway 30A has led what were once plentiful and untouched natural lands down a path of destruction. I lament this each time I visit – yet I visit anyway. I would love to know how native Floridians would react to a choice experiment like this one in Barbados. Perhaps factors such as sea turtle sightings, diver crowding and coral cover could be substituted by aforementioned dunes and nests and other highlights of the Panhandle beaches such as deep-sea fishing or blue heron sightings to be “more North Florida.” I imagine the old-Florida would step up, paying what we deem reasonable or engaging in subsidy programs. I would venture to say beachgoers would be willing to attribute value to the white sand beaches I grew up on. But until everyone understands the marginal value of these non-use turtle nests or dunes, there can be no real progress toward sustainable conservation without docking one of the largest sources of income in my state – tourism. The time discrepancy between what we use now and what we could benefit from in the future is skewed against the natural resources we ought to protect. We can understand a tangible experience – SCUBA diving in Barbados – now, but we cannot understand the value added to the system in the future if we conserve now.

Rainsford Reel

Firstly, I would like to reiterate the point that Kinsey makes above: I have never been to Barbados and as such my arbitrarily assigning any sort of value to that ecosystem seems flawed. However, like Kinsey I have also observed an environment change over time. My family generally travels to the South Carolina coast once or twice a year. Over my life, the dunes that used to pile high above the porches of the oceanfront houses are now barely above the level of the sand on the beach itself, and loggerhead turtles that used to use the area for their nests are now few and far between. Though sad, I do know that there is some value assigned to the dunes and the resources by locals as there have been policy implementations to limit the erosion of the dunes. Though I am unsure if policy makers used a choice modeling sort of experiment in order to determine the value the locals placed on the coastal environment.
Before this class I had never come across choice modeling experiments in my economics courses. Though I believe the idea is sound in theory, it seems almost too difficult to me to put into practice. For example, I feel that often times there may be large biases introduced into the models because much of the information comes from surveys. Surveys are not the most reliable of sources of data. For all we know as economists, the divers do not recall specifically the expenditures they made and may be ball parking a figure that could be accurate or they could be mis-remembering.
Lastly, it does not seem surprising that diver experience introduces variation into the preferences, I find it odd that other demographic variables did not generate any variation in preferences. For example, I would have guessed that divers with higher income, regardless of experience, would have preferred areas that were less crowded or more exotic.

nicholas george

I think most important line in the article is towards the end when the authors say, "We can infer that increasing diver
fees could serve to transfer at least some of this economic surplus to
the local economy, potentially motivating and/or funding further
stewardship and policy action, provided that dive experiences are
of a certain quality." While non-market valuation techniques present questions of validity and accuracy in the economic community, I believe that the statement above is indisputable; divers in Barbados are willing to pay more than they currently are for environmental services. So essentially, Barbados needs to illicit more money from divers. An interesting way to do this might be to establish a lottery system that limits the amount of dives per year. This is a very similar system to hunting in Western US on national parks that want to maintain the environmental integrity of these natural places, maintain and even grow animal populations and capture the consumer surplus that's there. These hunting lottery systems work to establish the maximum amount of people that a park can host so as not to damage anything mentioned above, and then sells that many hunting licenses for one time trips per year. Then, if you aren't one of the people that gets a license then you get a point, and the more points you accumulate the more likely you are to get a license. Furthermore, the price varies year to year based upon previous demand so that the license comity can adjust the price to capture the most surplus. I think this would be an interesting idea for Barbados scuba diving because they could establish the amount of diving that would be appropriate to maintain a level of coral cover they desire, and raise money for further coral rehabbing and sustainable development.

Tommy Concklin

This article is of particular interest to me as I went snorkeling this Summer in the gulf just outside Cancun. My family had gone on this exact snorkel a few years ago and had talked about the wide diversity of fish and wildlife they had witnessed. This past summer, I barely saw any fish at all and they even placed man made statues in the water to take divers in order to have something to look at in case the wildlife was lacking.
While the experience was not overly expensive, I would have been happy to pay significantly more than I did just in order to see something not man made. I agree with Rainsford that surveys are not a perfect source of information, but the main takeaway is that these wildlife areas are worth significantly more than just what comes to the eye. When someone is spending thousands of dollars to travel and stay in these destination areas internationally, what is another $50 to most of them in order to help preserve the natural ecosystem.

Sam Ross

In the study, researchers used a multitude of non-market valuation techniques to gauge the value of marine biodiversity in Barbados. Such techniques included travel cost method, contingent valuation, and choice models. It was very interesting to read the study and see the practical applications of non-market valuation; in ENV 395 last term, we spent practically the entire duration of the class discussing these forms of valuations in hypothetical scenarios. That being said, we never bore witness to any of their practical applications and as such, prior to this class, I was led to believe they had little practicality. Though it was interesting to read of a case study of such valuations, I really hope to learn more of how these results may be incorporated into public policy. As helpful as it may be to know that a diver is willing to pay $57 to encounter a wild sea turtle, to what extent does this information actually influence policy makers? I find it hard to believe that unless these sorts of studies are brought to a global scale, results of this nature will be of little consequence.

Alana Babington

The article highlights several notable factors I believe should be emphasized more. First, natural resources are more valuable when conserved. Second, the traditional market economy is entirely dependent upon the “free” services provided by the natural environmental.
Due to the fact that many benefits of conservation are far off in the future, costs of conserving now outweigh the present benefits. I believe the article thoroughly articulates the importance of these concerns, and, furthermore, emphasizes them through a semi-relatable example.
At first glance, 165 divers does not seem like a particularly large survey sample, especially when taking into account the wide-ranging implications that could be made from this experiment. Surveys are also not the best form to conduct a research experiment. However, in this case, the survey demonstrates the critical point at hand: fish divers in Barbados have a clear appreciation of reef quality variables and would be willing to pay for good coral cover, fish diversity and the presence of sea turtles. What interests me most is what can be done with this information. Non-market valuation helps policy makers determine forces that typical markets do not tell them, so instead of taking an excruciating long time to allow for any policy changes, there needs to be a faster turnover rate when it comes to environmental policy. Yes, I know that argument is for a perfect world. I do believe small changes slowly help, but big changes from policies are what will be beneficial in the long run. In order to do this, I believe there needs to be more shared knowledge about human effects to the environment.


I think the solution presented in this paper has the potential to work well in Barbados given the fact that tourism accounts for 15% of its GDP. Obviously, the coral reefs in Barbados have a large direct use value to the country. I believe that this would give the diving community significantly more political power in terms of influencing policy. Most divers in this survey stated that they would be willing to pay more for areas with higher coral quality, and I think that goes to show that the health of coral reefs in Barbados is extremely important, especially for economic stability. With that, by increasing the price of diving with the intention of taking a portion of those profits and reallocating them to conservation efforts, a stronger effort could be made in terms of slowing or preventing the degradation of coral reefs. If it were to be successful, Barbados would be a great example of a case study that succeeded in implementing environmental policy. But at the same time, this represents a small niche of environmental support. The data show that the divers were all very educated for the most part. But what about uneducated people? Most uneducated people have low incomes, and with that, their valuation of coral reefs probably differs greatly than that of a diver. How would we be able to share this information and generate legitimate concern to people who will probably never put on a scuba suit? Sure, some people will have existence value for coral reefs, but most will not have any direct use value attributed to coral reefs and that is the primary mode of valuation for consumers. I think this has been one of the biggest problems in terms of environmental support. Divers would love higher quality coral reefs because they are around them all the time. Hikers would love less air pollution or development so that they can continue to have awesome views at the peak of their hike. But for the people who don’t fit in those small niches, they probably don’t care at all. And I think that is the fault with the human mind. We can be extremely short sighted at times. Businesses want to develop land to get immediate benefits even though that land may have significantly larger long term benefits. I think that a large amount of people don’t realize that there is more to the preservation of ecosystems than simply aesthetics or recreation. The loss of healthy ecosystems and the continual use of unsustainable practices degrades human health, which most people aren’t directly aware of. I think that in order to make significant progress in the environmental field, there needs to be a greater effort in sharing information, such as that of this paper, so that more people are aware of the costs and benefits related to unhealthy and healthy ecosystems.

Jack Miller

Phillip Harmon

If we view recreation and conservation abstractly as two separate entities competing over the corral reef, then this article reveals that current distribution of the reef is not pareto efficient. That is to say, it is possible to do a better job conserving the reef while at the same time improving its recreational value. In this situation, the NMV was clearly useful in that it reveals the possibility of a better strategy. It would be hard to argue against the adoption of more conservation having read the analysis. I imagine at times, however, it is difficult to demonstrate that current distributions are not pareto efficient. People will seemingly always get mad if they believe they are in any way worse off by adopting a different strategy. Given how difficult NMV can be, I understand why it can be difficult to pass many conservation measures. It is tough to demonstrate value outside of a market, and even harder to show that the costs of harming the environment outweigh the more tangible costs of conservation.

Michael Robinson

Having taken few Econ courses, some of the techniques and methods used in this paper were hard for me to follow. However, I understand why they were used and what they can tell us about how much divers value non-market services associated with coral reef recreational activities. One would think, that with this information, policymakers would adopt strategies that aim to protect these attributes of dive sites to ensure ecological health and long-term economic stability. If seeing a turtle on a dive is worth $57 per dive, and we assume that the Barbados tourism industry wants that money and doesn’t hate turtles for some reason, then why not take steps to maintain a healthy turtle population. This is assuming that the costs of maintaining that population is less than the economic gain from having a healthy population. I don’t know that much about the “Payment for ecosystem services” scheme that is mentioned in the paper, but it seems like a good approach to accomplishing these “win-win” situations. Unfortunately, it seems like for the next four years, studies like this may be largely ignored by policymakers. As it is right now, the EPA and the NPS are becoming more afraid to share these types of studies.

AJ Witherell

As a few people have already commented here, I don’t think that this method of valuation would be as accurate or efficient on a wider-scale. As mentioned in the paper, the surveys only entailed the responses of 165 divers, which to me doesn't sound like very many and seems fairly easy to handle and analyze. However, if a group were to attempt to evaluate a natural resource that is far more often used/visited, then I believe it would become very costly to manage/analyze the data accurately and efficiently. In addition, the study from the reading has a basis in the monetary cost of the scuba activities occurring, but in some instances with natural resources there are very few monetary costs associated with using the property. So how would one effectively formulate a survey that encompasses such a vast audience that may all value the land at enormously different values? I think that at this point the research and survey would be a great cost and provide a less revealing analysis of data.

Although this reading did result in some speculation as to its effectiveness on larger scales, it did provide an interesting look at the points we have discussed in class. I think the survey served as a great example of how the models/techniques for determining non-market evaluations of environmental resources are used in the real world.

Robert Lance

As Tommy has already stated, the divers involved in the survey are typically of higher socioeconomic background. Specifically, although price sensitivity was listed as statistically significant at 1%, the coefficient is dwarfed by the positive impact conservation would have. Clearly, existence value has no reason to be included in this argument as existence value will not benefit the Barbados economy via tourism. The model was well applied considering the specific characteristics of the divers, and provided an accurate measure of the tastes and preferences.

Contrary to many here, I do believe that choice model could be reasonably applied to global issues, but on a micro-scale rather than macro. For example, wealthier communities may statistically rather receive power purely from natural gas and renewable sources over the next year instead power consumption from coal generation. This would indicate that these individuals are willing to pay higher electricity and heating bills in order to cut emissions from their community. Again, this is very specific, but that is precisely what this statistical analysis can do: measure the tastes and preferences of the sample size to determine what policies can be supported and implemented while minimizing economic loss in the process. While this is not the only applicable statistical analysis at policy-makers' disposal, it helps interpret the public response to possibly poor policies, and allows for the efficient implementation of beneficial ones.

Paul Callahan

The paper brings up a key point that it is hard to directly value something such as a coral reef but using many factors it is possible. The results of the study are not totally reliable due to such a small sample size of 165 divers. Regardless, the conclusion that divers are willing to a premium for less visited dive spots with better quality coral reefs is accurate. It seems as if most people here agree that we would all pay slightly extra in order to have a better experience and in turn help the environment more, but overall there is a less resounding agreement to help the environment. This is more of a problem for smaller less popular recreational activities where there is not enough funding or tourism to pay for environmental recovery. Places like Barbados need to increase funding for tourism in order to spur the economy and create funding for environmental protection.


I think the article did a wonderful job of showing us how non-market valuations can be used to find a more accurate valuation of goods that we benefit from that don't have an inherent price, like the coral reefs that the article talked about. I also felt like the article did an excellent job in showing that conservation is a "good economic
policy, and that investments in natural capital and biological assets
may be as important to economic growth and development as investments
in physical and human capital". But I still think that despite the research showing how beneficial conservation is the fact that the inherent cost of exploiting the resources is small upfront and the benefit of conservation is only reached in the distant future that it would remain difficult to convince many companies in these developing economies to support conservation without incentives or subsidies. I think this is the case because most scuba businesses would have the fear that higher prices to scuba dive in order to increase the quality of their service in the future would be extremely detrimental to business and cause their customers to flock to their competitors. However since most scuba divers who are experienced are willing to pay a bit extra for conservation of the reefs and increased chances of seeing sea turtles I think there could be an optimistic outcome if there was a balance between the increase in price, the increase in subsidies, and agreements between a large number of scuba companies.

Liam Curtin

As opposed to some of my fellow classmates above, I fully see the usefulness of this study in determining the valuation of reef diving in that it targets a small, but passionate group of people that rely on the reef for recreation and as a source of income. If this group of people lose the ability to utilize the reefs, where will their resources go when they can't use it on diving, fishing etc. These people have invested a significant amount of money to be able to use the reefs, and once the reefs are gone, there will be unused resources because these people won't immediately find a new hobby to spend money on(which will create unused resources) because for most, this recreational activity is something they are passionate about. For them, policy to protect the reefs will protect their short and long term utility, while also preserving the ability for others in the future to view the reefs and see their potential. I agree that it is difficult to support something that does not provide immediate benefits if you have no interest in it, but divers most certainly see how their contributions now will help preserve their interests for the future, which will allow the resources they have on hand to maximize utility.

Cole Wilbur

The point that divers are willing to pay more to visit reefs in the Barbados area and thus a higher prcie should be charged seems to make sense on the surface level. If people will pay more why not expect more from them? I think that people may be even more inclined to make the increased payment if they understood where their money was going and how it was going to help. As I read the article, I found that the reefs are an incredibly important tool for the Barbados economy and even more so are connected to nearly all aspects of life in Barbados. The reefs not only serve as an activity for fun, but also act as a barrier for the reef’s beaches and coastline. This is important to consider, as the beaches and coastline are another feature that play into Barbados’ biggest economic boost-tourism. If the reefs diminish not only would you lose the tourism from the people who enjoy the scuba aspect, but also those who enjoy the beaches or those who want to build on the coast line. The interconnectedness of the reefs to Barbados’ everyday life is clearly there. If people were able to understand how important these reefs are to a majority of parts of Barbados life then I think they would be more willing to pay an additional amount. The increase in price of scuba diving at the reefs should not simply be made on the idea that people are willing to pay more, but perhaps also on the idea that people will want to pay more if they understood some of these hidden benefits of the reefs to Barbados.

Abby Beasley

There are many factors in this paper that leave the research inconclusive: the small sample size, the demographic of the sample size, the small range in dive locations, etc., because the respondents of this survey simply revealed their monotonic preferences. This study highlights individuals that have the money to consume luxury goods so of course more is better and for them that is more coral, more trips to the Caribbean, more unique animals (turtles?), etc. This was an interesting read following both the reading and discussion from class on Tuesday and Professor Robert Humston’s lecture on the Ecological Impacts of Climate Change. There is such a clear relationship between the environment and the economy of recreation as there only remains a demand for the recreational activities so long as the supply of the venues stay in demandable shape. Professor Humston made a remarkable comment regarding the changes he has seen in reefs. He said that when he gave this talk 15 years ago he approached it as the future -- what we may start to or will see, and now he presents this talk and says this is what we are seeing. While not profound, this urges a higher existence value in addition to the increasing willingness to pay among the individuals that partake in the recreation within the environment.

James Willey

I appreciate how the results framed this study as “only one of many aspects of the total economic value of the nearshore marine resources of Barbados.” The previous paragraph concerning PES schemes and designated use areas seems to illustrate limitations of this study because diving is only one revenue producing market centered on marine resources. Before a compensatory scheme could be laid out for fisherman, a similar study would have to take place to value recreational reef fishing. Market based commercial fishing would also have to enter the calculation. I am curious if this valuation would actually suggest a PES. In the U.S., similar goals are more frequently achieved with permitting systems. If you want to fish from a public pier, go; if you want to fish elsewhere, buy a fishing license; if you want to fish in the Commercially Exclusive Zone, buy a commercial fishing license, etc. Buying licenses illustrates willingness to pay to fish in increasingly productive waters. I can envision a similar scheme for Barbados reefs where a base fishing license might cost x and a reef fishing license might cost x +1. The same scheme could limit diving pressure on a specific reef. My gut sense is that this is a more equitable system because those whom really want to use a resource or visit a site can if they are willing to pay. I don’t know enough about economics though to reason out if this is a profit maximizing approach or not. Additionally, I think this discussion echoes a comment made by other students questioning the application of this approach to vast and interdependent ecosystem services.
- James Willey

Amanda Meador

It was interesting to read that as overall qualities and conditions improve for diving in the Barbados the less likely people are willing to pay to improve them. This shows the increasing cost for getting rid of the last unit of pollution so to say. I think the article did a great job showing alternate ways to value the otherwise invaluable. Even though these approaches focused on people who had direct contact with the resource itself, I would like to see how the approaches extrapolate to those otherwise not exposed to coral reefs in Barbados. Should value be placed by only those who derive a direct benefit or should it extend to those who have indirect benefits as well? I guess this is an it depends type question. Like we went over in class, how in need is the resource in terms of conservation and how much is the externality and the potential policy fix externality.
Like many others have pointed out, the individuals survey more likely have the desire and more importantly have the ability to pay for improvements to the reefs. They have the potential to receive that much more of a benefit with a slight relative cost increase. By seeing 2 sea turtles instead of one for $56 dollars relatively is small in comparison to the cost of their trip(s) to the Caribbean.

Monette Carli

This article presents a promising solution to the conservation needs in Barbados. As others have pointed out already, the current market for scuba diving is not operating efficiently because scuba divers are clearly willing to pay much more for attributes like great coral coverage and sea turtle sightings. The most important implication of this finding is that the Barbados economy has the opportunity to benefit from increasing prices. By doing so, the producers and service providers in Barbados would be able to capture a greater portion of the consumer surplus.

One aspect of this study that I find interesting is the interaction between tourism as a major driver of the economy and tourism as a source of harm to the coral. The reading made me think about the time I went scuba diving on a family vacation in Hawaii. The instructors were very adamant that we be careful not to bump the coral, as that could harm it. However, when we went into the water, I witnessed another woman in the group hitting and bumping into the coral every few seconds. This experience made me realize how high numbers of tourist groups and recreational scuba divers can present a serious danger to the coral. This creates a fairly significant conflict of interest because the recreational divers provide so much economic benefit to the local area. Raising prices might help producers to capture more consumer surplus, but it might not protect the coral to the extent necessary. In this case, perhaps more restrictions on who can go scuba diving should be implemented. For example, visitors might be required to take a class on proper scuba diving techniques, how to preserve the marine environment, and why it is important to do so. Additionally, if scuba divers do not follow the rules once in the water, instructors could reserve the right to not allow them back in.

Sal Diaz

I agree with Abby in her discussion of the potential sampling bias, but I looked at the issue slightly differently. My concern is not with the potential inconclusiveness of the analysis. The vast majority of the variable were statistically significant at the 1% level and none of them seem to go against reason.
My problem with the demographics of those surveyed lies in the fact that it is representative of issue we face in making environmental priorities a socioeconomically neutral issue. The fact that those who are affluent and highly educated care about coral health and biodiversity is great, but it tells us little about the population as a whole. In my opinion, the greater challenge is getting a larger community to care about the same factors.
Furthermore, little is done in this piece to show how the utility of these individuals compares to the utility they gain from the processes which destroy them. Maybe I am a bit biased, but I have a hard time believing that many people wouldn't respond to a survey that they care about the well being of the ecosystem. The real question is if they value it more than the benefits that they gain from destroying it. This paper skims the surface of this question by placing a monetary value on their desire for a better diving area, but it does not then compare it to the alternative benefits they would get. If a paper were to address the sampling bias and comparative utility questions, I believe the results would be much more profound.

Courtney Freudenthal

Though largely I find the results of this experiment encouraging, there is one aspect that I do find slightly worrisome. In the data collection, the divers were accessed right after or shortly after scuba diving. During the time that these individuals were surveyed and recorded their responses, these divers might have been in a particularly "caring" or "sympathetic" mood. If I had just seen a beautiful coral reef and had just been 10 feet from a sea turtle I think it's possible that I might (subconsciously) inflate my theoretical willingness to pay responses in this type of survey. It might be the case that these individuals at the time of the survey were more likely to demonstrate willingness to pay, but had these same individuals been asked at their office desk in Ohio, then maybe their responses might have reflected different preferences. I don't think this concern carries enough weight to really have a substantial affect on the findings, but it is one concern that came to mind while reading.

ailyn kelly

This article highlights the importance of using non-market valuation techniques when “monetizing” and evaluating natural resources. These techniques help provide an accurate estimate of economic value, since natural resources are normally under-valued in policy decisions. Originally I believed that the evaluation of most natural resource involved non-market techniques. However the authors state, “Despite the depth and breadth of the associated literature on NMV, it has not been applied to the majority of natural assets and the literature often provides inadequate support for policy formation.” After finishing the article it became apparent to me, and to many of my classmates, that the application of choice models and non-market valuation techniques would be hard to manage and execute on a larger scale. The experiment in Barbados successfully demonstrated the benefits of using choice models, but can we feasible and accurately apply this model to other large scaled resources? Benefits of using non-market valuation techniques to help value resources in policy decisions are unquestionable. The challenge now faced by economist is how to transfer successful small-scaled models and experiments to broader natural assets.

Justin Pedersen

Initially after reading this paper, I had a similar reaction as several of my peers, as manifested by their blogs: Since I have neither traveled to Barbados nor scuba dived before, I have a difficult time relating to the choice experiment employed in this paper. I am not an avid scuba diver, and thus I find it hard to assess my personal willingness-to-pay for the conservation of Barbadian reef quality and marine biodiversity. While I may not derive direct use value from this Caribbean reef system, I certainly believe that the reef holds option, bequest, and existence value. Yet, even though I value the preservation of the Barbadian reef, my WTP for increased coral coverage is certainly less US$41, and my WTP to encounter a sea turtle is less than US$57. Similar to myself, several policy-makers likely fail to relate to the value derived from such a recreational experience, thus potentially resulting in government inaction and the neglect of this valuation attempt.

I also find this choice experiment somewhat incomplete, for coral reefs retain additional value that transcend recreational diving. For example, reefs dissipate waves, a considerably important ecologic service for a country exposed to severe storms, hurricanes, etc. Would it be possible to partially value reefs by assessing the costs from weather-related damages that would accrue in the absence of reefs? Additionally, reefs provide a myriad of provisioning service, from which Barbados and other individuals benefit directly. For example, reefs support the commercial fishing industry and provide various useful chemical derivatives. Furthermore, reefs offer other recreational opportunities in addition to scuba diving, such as sport fishing. A myriad of fish species, such as red snapper, amberjack, grouper, and other prized trophy fish inhabit coral reefs, thereby attracting a number of anglers. Considering all these ecological and environmental services supported by coral reefs, I believe that the WTP for Barbadian reef preservation presented by this paper is inaccurate and incomplete. In class, I hope to discuss potential methods of integrating these distinct use and nonuse values in order to aggregately value coral reefs.

The comments to this entry are closed.