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Bailey Ewing
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The Economic Value of the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve in Belize I was really interested by the approach that this article took. This research is very unique in that it specifies particular groups, their opinions and then extracts information from that rather than taking a random sample and evaluating the overall response. The discussion portion of the “visitor’s” section lined up precisely with what we have been talking about in class, how our research is hypothesized to turn out, and other articles that we had read. However, as a side note, I did find the fact that WTP for divers was strangely low. With respect to non-visitors, I was definitely shocked that 95% were reported to have a high willingness to pay even though they had never visited the GSSCMR. I suppose reasons for this could be that many had the desire to be in the “visitor” classification but were limited by time, income or other reasons. But I still cannot quite understand why the percent is so high and the feedback so positive. I expected that an information gap might make them indifferent or less likely to desire conservation efforts. The next thing that impressed me was how knowledgeable, I infer, the locals are. The Belizians seem to have a good feel for how conservation efforts will affect all aspects of Belizan life and it is obvious that they value this area highly, regardless of their involvement with it. Another thing that struck me was that only 6% of respondents attested to having been consulted about reserve conservation before. This tells me that not enough research is involving locals, but is rather focusing mainly on tourists’ feelings towards conservation and their willingness to pay. I believe it would be vey useful to allow locals to be more involved by valuing their opinions more heavily. The last thing that I want to discuss, another aspect that caught my attention is the overall positive attitude that seemed to be coming from the fisherman. It seems like they had a good feel for long-term need and knew that although conservation efforts would lower current income, they were in favor of conservation efforts due to the fact that it would maintain their livelihood for a longer period of time.
Toggle Commented Apr 26, 2013 on Un Belizeable!!!! at Jolly Green General
To me, this paper stood to prove that Belize has an oceanic environment worth preserving; however, my thoughts kept returning to how much more extensive research is necessary if this data ever hopes to turn into policy. Now that we are sure that regulation and conservations efforts must be implemented to sustain markets that comprise over half of Belize’s GDP, we must conduct research to arrive at the most efficient ways to raise awareness and funds to turn this path of degradation around. First, instead of valuing reefs and mangroves based on revenue, as stated in this article, this study should be approached by asking consumers what their maximum willingness to pay is. This will give a higher, and more accurate, valuation of reefs and mangroves and could provide policy makers with a monetary amount that they could raise form consumers in order to protect deteriorating environments. There currently stands a consumer surplus. Second, there is currently a problem that “an individual or group seizes an immediate benefit, without considering the broader and longer-term consequences to society.” If educated, both tourists and those native to Belize would likely agree that the economy and atmosphere of Belize would drastically decline without lively tourism, fisheries and shorelines. Before much else can be accomplished however, as discussed in Pendelton’s paper that we read yesterday, it goes without question that extensive research is required in many different fields in order to arrive at comprehensive and successful conservation policy.
Toggle Commented Apr 25, 2013 on Un Belizeable!!!! at Jolly Green General
Before we conduct our research it is necessary to determine whether or not whale sharks are worth preserving. And then from there, how should we go about doing this. I learned a lot form the way that this article approached many different sides of Whale Shark demand and how that can be provided for, relative to potential income. I found the idea to keep the community and tourists informed about conservation needs and the benefits and revenue that whale sharks will bring to local economies, to be a very effective way to promote conservation. If wanting to keep this out of the control of the government, the method with the most potential is to give the community an invested interest. I agree with Kate that it is possible that the average price of a whale shark excursion has drastically increased over the past 6 years due to a better informed community. This is an amazing species which fascinates excites and deserves respect from those who are well-informed. By informing many we will see demand rise and, in turn, greater success in the market for whale-sharks. One thing that struck me that I cannot seem to understand is the fact that in Ningaloo Marine Park, Western Australia, Davis and Tisdell found that people will pay anywhere between $30 to $900 to swim with whale sharks. First, I wonder why this is such a large range and also what makes someone willing to spend $900 and how often that willingness might occur.
Is the non-market literature adequate to support coastal and marine management? In Developmental Econoimcs we spoke about a black box between Economic Theory and Policy. The purpose of investing time and resources into economic research is to learn about a topic and find ways to increase its usefulness or value. This article delves into many constraints and difficulties that we face if the system of research, analysis and policy implementation does not become a collaborative effort that can grow substantially and become more readily available and reliable. With respect to coastal valuation, we are headed in the right direction with The Environmental Valuation Reference Inventory database and the National Ocean Econoimcs Program that provide a compilation of coastal economic valuation research, and importantly research through a variety of methods. However, several steps must occur in order to create an efficient system that turns viable research into effective policy. The major problem with contingent valuation studies becoming sufficient for policy implementation is the fact that contingent valuation contains so many detailed facets. For example, when there are five peer-reviewed literature on wildlife and only three on ecosystems the problem arises: how can we relate these two research fields in order to solve the big picture problem of oceanic conservation and sustainability? Other problems occur when not enough research is done in a specific region or in a specific amount of time. Overall, it seems clear that in order to turn all of this research into something that will benefit society, there needs to be much higher levels of collaboration between experts and an incredible amount of funds invested.
Toggle Commented Apr 24, 2013 on testing at Jolly Green General
The willingness to pay-willingnes to accept gap revisited: the role of emotions and moral satisfaction I really noticed how the WTP verses the WTA revealed the impact of an anchor. The WTP group already had the full SEK 150 while the WTA only actually possessed SEK 50. It would make sense that because they had not yet formed an attachment to the extra SEK 100 nor had they seen the physical substance, that they would be more likely to forgo the opportunity in order to help a cause. I think that this study reveals potential biases that could result from our survey. Does the way that we present information or formulate questions impact the tourist’s emotional connection to the momentary funds they must forego to have a whale shark experience. I even think this might relate back to what we discussed today about how to pose the question regarding how much they would pay for the trip, both before and after. If we asked, would you pay $150 they might be more willing to accept this $40 increase in price than if we were to give them options ranging for $110- $150. Here it seems as though paying the $150 will provide aid to the environment but essentially, it is just a fixed fee to enjoy this experience. However when given intervals, I feel as though a tourist will automatically assume: anything that I circle over what I have just paid will be a conservation fee that will come out of my pocket. In this scenario I would hypothesize that the mean willingness to pay would be lower than one we might be able to set.
Toggle Commented Apr 24, 2013 on Three more for Wednesday at Jolly Green General
Ecosystem services of the tropical seascape: interactions, substitutions and restoration When first approaching the two primary questions examined by this article I formed a very strong opinion before gathering all of the facts and research. My opinion however, lined up with their conclusion and I feel as though most civilians, unknowledgeable about oceanic ecosystems and their deterioration, would be able to argue that human reconstruction could not create the perfect complexity of natural oceanic ecosystems. Although I think that if successful, technologically constructed oceanic ecosystems could, potentially, fix long-term deterioration of marine environments, I also find the research from this article sensible. Issues such as creating internal memory and other complexities could easily make an extensive and extremely costly project fail. I believe that this is a valid and reasonable proposal in order to investigate long-term fixes to substantial looming problems; however, I also believe that even if man were able to create a perfectly functional and thriving oceanic environment, the cost behind research, construction and maintenance would be a drastic burden.
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. This article highlights a lot of what we talked about today regarding how conservation techniques can either hurt or improve the economy and long-term sustainability of the target region. For instance, the example of limiting fishing in order to preserve oceanic ecosystems results in negative externalities within the fishing market and the economy of the region. This study focused on economic rent, the opportunity cost forgone when working in the fishing industry, maximizing social opportunity in the form of employment by calculating the number of jobs available and then these jobs were valued based on profitability. However, long term we must consider that the habitat that the studied species live in is being depleted at substantial rates if something doesn’t change. As fisheries begin to multiply, depletion of resources and lessening of biodiversity occurs. This study emulates whale shark conservation in that, increased costs for a whale shark excursion could turn away some customers and decrease demand but will allow for this activity to persist for a much longer duration of time due to the fact that the conservation fee is going to prevent whale shark extinction. It is absolutely crucial to weigh long-term consequences of conservation policies in order to evaluate the proper procedure to take. This article also points out that is not necessary to decide between harsh conservation policy and free, unregulated, use of natural resources. We must fund the intercept between the benefit curves of each alternative. I found the buy back option and fishing fleet restructuring ideas interesting however, I had a hard time understanding what was happening. Although I might be completely wrong, I relate this idea to farming regulation and support given to farmers in America in order to both regulate and sustain the delicate, yet necessary, economic resource. I would argue that this practice would require strict regulation laws and monitoring in order to prevent illegal fishing. I wonder if this extra cost, one that I consider to be somewhat indirect, would be worth it.
Toggle Commented Apr 23, 2013 on Three more for Wednesday at Jolly Green General
The Valuation of Marine Ecosystem Goods and Services in the Caribbean Although brief, the two assigned sections this article expanded my view on how to categorize and asses aspects within the economic valuation of oceanic seascapes. One must consider the use value and non-use value of what types of services are geared towards their area of study. Within these sub-categories it is important to value the importance of, for example, improving the endangerment status of whale sharks, based on more than just what a tourist is willing to pay. It is most accurate to go beyond their willingness to pay for conservation methods and to explore how beneficial the existence of whale sharks truly is to each individual tourist and to see if the monetary means need to improve this species survival rate is worth the benefits.
A Practitioner’s Primer on the contingent valuation method I found this article very helpful considering I have never attempted to conduct a contingent valuation experiment. It is necessary to have this basic knowledge in order to make the most of our time and purpose in Belize. I found it critical to focus on the construction of questions and how to manipulate these questions to effectively draw out accurate and unbiased answers from a randomly selected group of tourists. I see that the order, type and syntax of the questions in our survey can be very effective in suppressing the chance of a bias. I found it interesting, and slightly odd, how much time Whitehead spent on mail surveys. Like Holley, I believe that this method might be the least successful and the most likely to contain multiple biases. However, it was helpful to examine this model and to extrapolate ways in which we can make our model the best that it can be. I am excited about the opportunity to talk with the tourists that we survey, having the ability to explain to them our purpose, judge their emotional attachment to their response, and be available to clear any ambiguity.
To add to the insight given by Kate, I also found the protest bids intriguing and believe that we could conduct an even more extensive survey, one that might see real results if conclusions turned into policy, in Belize based on the negative responses of tourists in Mexico. It seems as though those that were unwilling to pay a conservation fee were very uneasy about what impact their money would have. Essentially, it seems like they questions whether their sacrifice would reap equivalent benefits for the oceanic environment. It might fare well to incorporate a brief explanation to each tourist surveyed of where exactly the money would go, who would handle it and how it would be utilized. This however, would take much research and a partnership with local conservationists. Additionally, 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. As mentioned in the article, these researchers felt as though marital status and number of children could have been useful in this analysis. It is important delve into as many similar studies that have been performed as possible in order to construct the most successful and accurate study possible.
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Apr 22, 2013