, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 1052-1064
Date: 31 Mar 2010

Resident Motivations and Willingness-to-Pay for Urban Biodiversity Conservation in Guangzhou (China)

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Abstract

The monetary assessment of biodiversity measures the welfare damages brought by biodiversity losses and the cost-benefit analysis of conservation projects in a socio-economic context. The contingent valuation method could include motivational factors to strengthen economic analysis of nature conservation. This study analyzed Guangzhou residents’ motivations and willingness-to-pay (WTP) for an urban biodiversity conservation program in the National Baiyun Mountain Scenic Area (BMSA). The peri-urban natural site, offering refuge to some endemic species, is under increasing development pressures for recreational and residential use. A questionnaire survey was conducted in the Guangzhou metropolitan area during June to October 2007. We interviewed face-to-face 720 stratified sampled households to probe residents’ attitudes towards the city’s environmental issues, motivations for urban nature conservation, and WTP for biodiversity conservation. Principal component analysis identified five motivational factors, including environmental benefit, ecological diversity, nature-culture interaction, landscape-recreation function, and intergenerational sustainability, which illustrated the general economic values of urban nature. Logistic regression was applied to predict the probability of people being willing to pay for the urban biodiversity conservation in BMSA. The significant predictors of WTP included household income and the factor nature-culture interaction. The median WTP estimated RMB149/household (about US$19.5/household) per year and an aggregate of RMB291 million (approximately US$38.2 million) annually to support the urban conservation project. Including public motivations into contingent valuation presents a promising approach to conduct cost-benefit analysis of public projects in China.