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Valuing ecosystem services in the Salmon River Watershed, British Columbia: a choice experiment approach

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Private land in the Salmon River watershed of British Columbia makes major contributions to the natural capital of the watershed. Ecosystem services (ES) produced by private holdings contribute to general environmental health and community well-being. This paper reports the results of a choice experiment (CE) to assess resident’s preferences for future ES conditions in the watershed. The CE was part of a survey mailed to watershed residents and included attitudinal questions to be used as covariates in the CE. Respondent bias was treated using a novel segmentation procedure of known protesters. The results show that a majority of respondents are willing to pay in the form of increases to income tax for marginal improvements to ES provision from private land. Respondents exhibited heterogeneous preferences for ES, and were classified as Aquaphiles, Naturalists, and Conservatives, based on their preferences for water quality, wildlife habitat, and farmer income respectively. Watershed management implications are discussed.
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