Willingness to Pay for Conservation of Transborder Migratory Species: A Case Study of the Mexican Free-Tailed Bat in the United States and Mexico

Abstract

We estimated U.S. and Mexican citizens’ willingness to pay (WTP) for protecting habitat for a transborder migratory species, the Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis mexicana), using the contingent valuation method. Few contingent valuation surveys have evaluated whether households in one country would pay to protect habitat in another country. This study addresses that gap. In our study, Mexican respondents were asked about their WTP for conservation of Mexican free-tailed bat habitat in Mexico and in the United States. Similarly, U.S. respondents were asked about their WTP for conservation in the United States and in Mexico. U.S. households would pay $30 annually to protect habitat in the United States and $24 annually to protect habitat in Mexico. Mexican households would pay $8 annually to protect habitat in Mexico and $5 annually to protect habitat in the United States. In both countries, these WTP amounts rose significantly for increasing the size of the bat population rather than simply stabilizing the current bat population. The ratio of Mexican household WTP relative to U.S. household WTP is nearly identical to that of Mexican household income relative to U.S. household income. This suggests that the perceived economic benefits received from the bats is similar in Mexico and the United States, and that scaling WTP by relative income in international benefit transfer may be plausible.

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Acknowledgements

This work was funded by a National Science Foundation award (DEB-1118975) to LL-H and NSF award (DEB-1518359) to LL-H and JBL. Additional support was received from the U.S. Geological Survey’s John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis working group, Animal Migration and Spatial Subsidies: Establishing a Framework for Conservation Markets. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. I certify that there is no actual or potential conflict of interest in relation to this article.

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Correspondence to John B. Loomis.

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Haefele, M.A., Loomis, J.B., Merideth, R. et al. Willingness to Pay for Conservation of Transborder Migratory Species: A Case Study of the Mexican Free-Tailed Bat in the United States and Mexico. Environmental Management 62, 229–240 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-018-1046-1

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Keywords

  • Bats
  • Contingent valuation
  • Habitat
  • Mexico
  • United States
  • Willingness to pay