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Corinne Hemmersbach
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The Economic Value of Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve According to this article, Belize has established nineteen marine protected areas. Each area has varying levels of protection, management, sizes, etc. Management responsibility lies with different groups for different marine protected areas. The article suggests that most of the MPAs are co-managed between a local non-government organization and a government department. I find this system quite inefficient. I suspect that this system is actually harming the current condition of the marine protected areas. The article suggests that several of the areas lack active management and several others lack sufficient funds. This allows illegal fishing and anchoring to destroy these reserves. I would be curious as to whether delegating management and funds through one common department and organization would reduce these inefficiencies. After all, the MPAs are critical for maintaining Belize’s reef tourism and I believe this reworking of the system could be very beneficial. Better management of these areas is beneficial to both the ecosystem and the local community. I guess I am just curious as to why the system was set up this way in the first place?
Toggle Commented Apr 26, 2013 on Un Belizeable!!!! at Jolly Green General
Coastal Capital: Belize Today in class, we talked a great deal about the amount of research that is needed to turn data and information into policy. However, I completely agree with Bess’s point she made above on this article. How much is enough? This article, along with every other article we have read has emphasized the fact that despite the importance of the coastal and marine ecosystems and all the important goods and services they provide, the benefits are often overlooked and underappreciated in coastal investment and policy decisions. It has been proven time and time again how these ecosystems provide us with both conservation and cultural value. Yet, we have done very little about it. As these authors point out, the ecosystems of Belize are already under threat from development, overfishing, and natural disasters. And, on top of all of this, climate change will surely worsen these effects. The authors point out that it is critical for Belize’s government and citizens to work now to protect their coastal resources. So while I agree with Bailey that maybe more research could be useful, I believe we need to act upon these issues sometime soon. Otherwise we will be too late. Currently coastal communities are in high risk of losing benefits, both ecological and social, in the not-so-distant future.
Toggle Commented Apr 26, 2013 on Un Belizeable!!!! at Jolly Green General
Seychelles: A Case Study of Community Involvement in the Development of Whale Shark Ecotourism and its Socio-economic Impact Today in class we discussed tragedy of the commons and the idea of “mutual coercion mutually agreed upon.” I thought this article was a great example of how the support of a community can make implementing policy more effective. Keeping the community aware of the costs and benefits of the project is a great way to promote awareness and ultimately create a sustainable ecotourism activity. The article states that there were several ways the general public was involved in the project. From its outset, the project encouraged the participation of the public in monitoring activities. Advertisements were placed in the national newspaper to encourage public participation at the workshop. Not only did the project engage the community in the conservation work, but it also provided a source of income to the local community – alluding to both ecological and social success. Keeping the local communities aware of the process will be important in the future if new training programs are to be put in place. As Kate points out, ecotourism may be a promising method for retraining subsistence fishers. As mentioned in class, training programs will be key to the success of conserving the ecosystem and keeping the people happy. While there has been a lot of success for the development of whale shark ecotourism in Seychelles, there still remains the large cost factor of finding the sharks. I would be interested to see the progress Seychelles has made since 2005.
Is the Non-market Literature Adequate to Support Coastal and Marine Management? Because policy analysts are increasingly looking to literature for estimates of the non-market value of coastal and marine resources, Pendleton, Atiyah, and Moorthy examined the literature themselves. They found that the literature is generally insufficient to support effective policy-making. Frequency of publication in recent years has declined, the literature is concentrated on only a few of the assets, geographic coverage of the literature is concentrated, and only a small number of authors are responsible for the majority of the research output. Needless to say, I found this article troublesome. Policy analysts need non-market valuation data on ocean and coastal resources to make better-informed decisions on policy. How are they supposed to do this if the non-market valuation data is insufficient for their region or the specific asset today? It seems that the NOEP is making good strides forward to address these current issues. According to the authors, if these issues are not addressed, previous research on the non-market valuation of coastal and marine resources can not be used effectively to inform coastal zone policy.
Toggle Commented Apr 24, 2013 on testing at Jolly Green General
Ecosystem Services of the Tropical Seascape: Interactions, Substitutions, and Restoration In this article Moberg and Ronnback presented very interesting ideas on how to substitute or restore the damage humans have done to tropical coastal “seascapes.” These attempts at substitution and restoration of ecosystem services were fascinating to me. I had never come across these ideas before, but why? For example mangrove afforestation and habitat conversion of mudflats have proven to be very successful and cost efficient, so why is it not more popular? I began to ponder these questions, and then thought to myself well why has this all happened in the first place? Why have humans continued to destroy seascapes even though they serve humans with protection, food, medicine, and many other needed services? Education is key. If humans were better educated on how destroying seascapes impact both marine ecosystems and human civilization, I believe it could eliminate some major problems. Obviously, damage has already been done. However, I believe implementation of education can seriously slow down the process in the future. While humans become more education, restoration attempts may be able to bring back the direct value to humans and ecosystem resilience. We must aim to prevent the destruction of the marine ecosystem, but enough damage has been done that restoration may be key to the success of seascapes throughout the tropics.
Toggle Commented Apr 24, 2013 on Three more for Wednesday at Jolly Green General
The Willingness to Pay-Willingness to Accept Gap Revisited: The Role of Emotions and Moral Satisfaction The disparity between people’s maximum WTP for a good and their minimum WTA not having the good is a new concept all together for me. However, I felt like this article gave me a sound base knowledge. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the WTA-WTP disparity tends to be much larger for public goods, such as environmental goods than for private commodities. The idea behind it would be that public goods are perceived to have a more obvious ethical component, since the individuals’ choices also affect others. I agree with others who have posted that this fact is very promising. It is promising that individuals are aware of how their personal decisions may affect others. I think this article is also promising in terms of analysis for future policies and donations. I believe it could give economists a better idea of the emotions or moral compass behind donations toward environmental goods and a better idea of how to act on these emotions with implementation of new conservative policies.
Toggle Commented Apr 24, 2013 on Three more for Wednesday at Jolly Green General
Trade-offs Between Conservation and Socio-Economic Objectives in Managing a Tropical Marine Ecosystem Cheung and Sumaila’s article truly highlights the importance of understanding the trade-off relationships between ecological, economic, and social objectives in designing policies to restore ecosystems. It became very clear that a trade-off between the three is no easy task. One line that really caught my attention was on page 11 when Cheung and Sumaila wrote, “These are clear symptoms of Malthusian overfishing – a situation in which overfishing is driven by poverty, population growth, and lack of alternative livelihood.” In the NSCS, fisherman are only able to maintain their income from fishing by targeting species further down the food web and using destructive fishing methods. I completely agree with the others that it is crucial to weigh the long-term consequences. I agree that a well-designed conservation policy to improve conservation status is needed for long term economic and ecological reasons. However, finding a way around the short-term social costs poses a huge problem for me. Establishing training and assistance programs for former fishermen is crucial as this article suggests. As we talked about in class, this step and these individuals are often overlooked when focusing on improving the ecosystem. With a low education level, these fishermen may have nothing but fishing to feed their families. As Bess points out, it is an extremely important step for long-term conservation success. Providing these fishermen with incentives to change their behavior will not only bring ecological success, but it will also bring social success.
Toggle Commented Apr 24, 2013 on Three more for Wednesday at Jolly Green General
Economics of Marine Ecosystem Goods and Services As Kate mentioned, I believe these sections of Schuhmann’s paper were a good introduction to economic valuation. Growing up by the ocean, I always have thought of it simply as a place of recreation and happy memories. I now have learned that these are only the cultural services provided by marine ecosystems. All of these articles are very intriguing to me and a sort of wake up call to recognize all the goods and services marine ecosystems provide directly and indirectly to human well-being. It is easy to understand that economists define the value of a particular good or service as what it is worth to people. But my head is having a harder time wrapping around how the economic value of “nonmarket” goods and services can be measured. This topic is new to me, and I am very excited to learn more about it.
A Practitioner’s Primer On the Contingent Valuation Method While it may have been overwhelming, I actually enjoyed this article. It was fun for me to be able to use the knowledge I learned in my Statistics course last semester and apply it to this reading. While Whitehead mentioned non-response bias, I feel like it is a very important topic that could have been overlooked by readers. Responses heavily depend on the type of person taking the survey. As Holley stated, individuals and families are busy with their day-to-day lives and are not always willing to take time to complete a survey. Those who are interested in the specific topic or have more time in their day are more likely to complete and send in the survey. I believe it is extremely important to recognize this bias and take it into account. However, I am unaware of and am intrigued to learn how to avoid this bias. While we are out in the field in Belize, I imagine that this could be a huge obstacle for us. I am interested to see how as a group we will be able to overcome this obstacle.
Are Tourists Willing to Pay Additional Fees to protect Corals in Mexico? Two different areas in this article jumped out at me. First was the issue of hypothetical bias. Several others have touched on the fact that even when we warn people of the bias, it is a hypothetical situation and therefore will always be a factor. However, given this fact, I believe it is still a very effective method. Today in class when we were warned of the hypothetical bias during the survey, I truly contemplated the idea and adjusted my answer. While the bias will always be there, getting people to think about it is definitely a step in the right direction. The second area that intrigued me was a point that Bailey mentioned earlier. She wrote, “We have the opportunity to take this study and its limitations and improve it so that we might come away with more substantial data than those before us.” On page 565 of the journal, it is stated that nearly 25% of the interviews were conducted in couples. I would like to further research this and see if interviewing in pairs affects the responses given. I am intrigued to find out if interviewing pairs rather than individuals introduce any unnecessary biases.
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Apr 22, 2013