Economics, Trade and Incentive Measures

ID 27482
Main Information
Title The existence value of biodiversity in South Africa
Description South Africa is rich in biological diversity, but measures to conserve this heritage are under-funded and are of relatively low priority at national level. Part of the problem is that the social value of biodiversity is unknown, and thus the potential impact of a loss of biodiversity on social wellbeing is not recognised. Some of these threats, particularly climate change, are predicted to have major impacts on biodiversity within the next 50 years. This study investigates the public interest, experience and knowledge of biodiversity and uses contingent valuation methods to estimate its existence value, with emphasis on the internationally significant fynbos biome in the Western Cape. More than half of respondents classified themselves as actively or passionately interested in nature, and a high proportion had recently visited major nature reserves. Interest was correlated with knowledge, and both were positively correlated with willingness to pay (WTP) for biodiversity conservation, though WTP was constrained by income level. WTP for conservation was relatively high ($3.3 million per year for fynbos, $58 million for national biodiversity), and comparable with government conservation budgets. WTP increased dramatically (to up to $15 million and $263 million per year, respectively) when respondents were faced with the predicted impacts of climate change on biodiversity.
Additional Information
Authors Turpie, J. K.
Source Turpie, J. K., 2003: “The existence value of biodiversity in South Africa: how interest, experience, knowledge, income and perceived level of threat influence local willingness to The losses that are being incurred of the Earth’s biological diversity, at all levels, are now staggering. The trend lines for future loss are steeply upward as new adverse drivers of change come into play. The political processes for matching this crisis are now inadequate and the science needs to address this issue are huge and slow to fulfil, even though strong advances have been made. A more integrated approach to evaluating biodiversity in terms that are meaningful to the larger community is needed that can provide understandable metrics of the consequences to society of the losses that are occurring. Greater attention is also needed in forecasting likely diversity-loss scenarios in the near term and strategies for alleviating detrimental consequences. At the international level, the Convention on Biological Diversity must be revisited to make it more powerful to meet the needs that originally motivated its creation. Similarly, at local and regional levels, an ecosystem-service approach to conservation can bring new understanding to the value, and hence pay” Ecological Economics 46, 199-216.
Countries South Africa
Ecosystems Dry and Sub-Humid Lands Biodiversity
Regions Africa
Incentive Measures Economic Valuation
Keywords Contingent valuation
Contingent ranking