, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 187-201

First online:

Measuring willingness-to-pay for wetlands preservation with the contingent valuation method

  • John C. WhiteheadAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, East Carolina University

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Preservation of bottomland hardwood forest wetlands is threatened by pressure from surface coal mining activities in the western Kentucky coalfield. The contingent valuation, survey method was used to measure the economic benefits (willingness-to-pay) of preserving the Clear Creek wetland, the largest wetland area in the coalfield, from surface coal mining. Results indicated that Kentucky households are willing to pay between $6 and $13, in the form of voluntary contributions to a hypothetical “Wetland Preservation Fund,” for preservation. Mine reclamation as a substitute for preservation recreational use of wetlands by survey respondents, conservation club membership, and age are determinants of willingness-to-pay. Annual aggregate benefits of Clear Creek wetland preservation are estimated to be between $2.94 million and $19 million depending on aggregation assumptions.

Key Words

willingness-to-pay contingent valuation method surface coal mining wetlands