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Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 289–311 | Cite as

The Cost of Mediterranean Sea Warming and Acidification: A Choice Experiment Among Scuba Divers at Medes Islands, Spain

  • Luís C. RodriguesEmail author
  • Jeroen C. J. M. van den Bergh
  • Maria L. Loureiro
  • Paulo A. L. D. Nunes
  • Sergio Rossi
Article

Abstract

A choice experiment is undertaken to elicit preferences of scuba divers in the Marine Protected Area of Medes Islands (Spain). This is the first non-market valuation study of a typical Mediterranean habitat, the Coralligenous, which is characterized by high biodiversity, geomorphologic complexity and iconic species like gorgonians. This habitat is not only very attractive for scuba diving, but is also threatened by climate change and ocean acidification, which is our motivation for undertaking this valuation study. Choice attributes include the number of divers on a diving trip, underwater landscape, presence of jellyfish species, expected state of gorgonians, and price of a dive. Results of multinomial and random parameter logit models indicate a decrease in the attractiveness of Coralligenous areas for scuba diving as a result of both environmental pressures. Estimates of welfare values show that the local extinction of gorgonians had the highest negative effect on utility equivalent to a cost of €60 per dive, followed by abundance of stinging jellyfish with a cost of €26 per dive. Choice probabilities for the selection of different dive experiences indicate the highest rejection rates for the combined sea warming and acidification scenarios.

Keywords

Choice experiment Coralligenous Gorgonians Jellyfish  Mediterranean Sea Ocean acidification Scuba diving Sea warming 

Abbreviations

CC

Climate change

CE

Choice experiment

\(\hbox {CO}_{2}\)

Carbon dioxide

CV

Contingent valuation

ECB

European Central Bank

GDP

Gross domestic product

IIA

Independence of irrelevant alternatives

IID

Identically and independently distributed

IP

Implicit price

LM

Lagrange Multiplier

LR

Likelihood-ratio test

MAP

Mediterranean Action Plan

MEA

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

MNL

Multinomial logit

MPA

Marine Protected Area

OA

Ocean acidification

RAC

Regional Activity Center

RPL

Random parameter logit

SPA

Specially Protected Areas

UNEP

United Nations Environment Programme

WTA

Willingness to accept

WTP

Willingness to pay

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study is part of the project “European Mediterranean Sea Acidification in a changing climate” (MedSeA), funded by the European Commission under Framework Program 7 (http://medsea-project.eu). The authors would like to thank: Wouter Botzen, Veronica Fuentes, William Greene, Livia Madureira, Kenneth Train, and Patrizia Ziveri for helpful comments and information; Yannick Alan de Icaza Astiz, Annelies Broekman, Stefan Drews, Ardjan Gazheli, Anna Rippoll, Anaid Rosas, Marta García Sierra, and Juliana Subtil for assistance with the field work; and the personnel from the Natural Park of Medes Islands, el Montgrí and el Baix Ter as well as from various diving centres of L’Estarit, for their collaboration in several stages of this study. Maria L. Loureiro thanks the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, Project Number ECO2012-39553-C04-02.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luís C. Rodrigues
    • 1
    • 6
    Email author
  • Jeroen C. J. M. van den Bergh
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • Maria L. Loureiro
    • 3
  • Paulo A. L. D. Nunes
    • 4
  • Sergio Rossi
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Environmental Science and TechnologyUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBellaterraSpain
  2. 2.ICREABarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Economic TheoryUniversidade de Santiago de CompostelaA CoruñaSpain
  4. 4.Ecosystem Services Economics Unit, Division of Environmental Policy ImplementationUNEP – United Nations Environment ProgrammeNairobiKenya
  5. 5.Faculty of Economics and Business Administration and Institute for Environmental StudiesVU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  6. 6.ENT Environment and ManagementVilanova i la GeltrúSpain

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