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Bosque (Valdivia)

On-line version ISSN 0717-9200

Abstract

CERDA, Claudia. An application of choice experiments to identify local preferences for conservation and development options at the extreme south of Chile. Bosque (Valdivia) [online]. 2011, vol.32, n.3, pp. 297-307. ISSN 0717-9200.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-92002011000300011.

This study uses a choice experiment (CE) to estimate economic values of environmental services that are not traded in markets, provided by forests of Navarino Island, Magallanes and Antártica Chilena, Chile. This is a pristine area with low level of economic development. It includes temperate forests of global interest to be preserved. However, development projects can threaten this condition. The central research question is: to know the economic preferences of the local community of Navarino for the environmental services provided by forests on the island. Scenarios with different levels of attributes and touristic development were analysed using a CE (n = 230). As most of the development options for Navarino include some loss of environmental services due to the pristine condition of the place, increases in income/year were offered as monetary compensation (willingness to accept). Participants’ decisions about future development and conservation strategies were influenced by the following attributes: scenic beauty threatened by levels of tourism infrastructure, access restrictions due to both nature conservation and private interests, visits of the hummingbirds (Sephanoidessephanoides) and protection for an endemic moss (Tayloria mirabilis). Participants favoured a model of low impact development, represented by small-scale tourism. This research illustrates the application of a methodology to incorporate citizens preferences in conservation strategies.

Keywords : choice experiment; willingness to accept; Navarino; economic valuation; preferences.

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