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Ecosystems, livelihood assets and willingness to pay for wetland conservation in Bangladesh


Wetland ecosystem services have come under severe threat globally due to environmental changes and anthropogenic impacts. Understanding the trend and usages of the ecosystem services with associated reasons, conservation attitude and determinants of payment responses of local inhabitants based on wetland proximity can benefit the adjacent communities and policy makers. The major contribution of the present study is that the study investigated the patterns of use and livelihood significance of wetland ecosystem services in data-deficit regions of north-eastern Bangladesh through evaluating the perceptions of local experts and community people. In addition, we examined the willingness to pay (WTP) attitudes using two payment vehicles and three payment versions as well as examined the effect of livelihood assets on their WTP. Results showed that the ecosystem services satisfy the subsistence, semi-commercial, commercial and beneficial requirements of the adjacent communities. Amongst the twenty-nine identified species, a few were locally extinct, and the availability of a number of other species decreased substantially. Conservation attitudes revealed that 25% of the respondents were interested in cash payment of which 16% expressed exact amount, whilst 9% mentioned interval values. However, 45% respondents were willing to volunteer a given number of days per annum of which 27% and 18% elicited exact and interval values, respectively. Interval regression results showed that WTP for conservation of the ecosystem services was sensitive to livelihood capitals. The study suggests proximity-based policies, declaring the wetland as an ecologically critical area, and utilising volunteering efforts by local inhabitants for conservation.

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We gratefully acknowledge Bangladesh Agricultural University Research Systems (BAURES) for funding this research. Moreover, the authors extend their gratitude to the Upazila Agriculture Officers, Upazila Fisheries Officers, Sub-Assistant Agriculture Officers, the enumerators and the respondents.

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Appendix 1

Sample size determination

The precision-based sample size \((n)\) is determined using the following formula:

$$n = \frac{{Z(c/100)^{2} \times p\left( {1 - p} \right)}}{{d^{2} }}$$

where \(p\) is the proportion of responses that we are interested in, \(d\) is the margin of error, \(Z(c/100)\) is the critical value for the confidence level \(c.\)

Considering c = 95%, p = 0.50, and d = 5.17%, the total sample size was calculated as 360.

Appendix 2

See Figs. 6, 7 and Tables 9, 10, 11

Fig. 6
figure 6

Obtaining bids (payment card method). Note: a1 US $ = 83.71 Bangladeshi Taka (BDT), during the time of data collection dated 26 October 2018

Fig. 7
figure 7

Obtaining bids (considering man days; 1 man day = 8 h). Note: 1 man day = 400 BDT (1 US$ = 83.71 BDT accessed on 26 October 2018)

Table 9 Definition and summary statistics of the variables used in the study
Table 10 Payment methods of respondents’ and their significance
Table 11 Respondents responses to different payment versions

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Al-Amin, A.K.M.A., Alam, K., Shrestha, U.B. et al. Ecosystems, livelihood assets and willingness to pay for wetland conservation in Bangladesh. Environ Dev Sustain 23, 17503–17534 (2021).

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  • Wetland ecosystems
  • Livelihood significance
  • Livelihood assets
  • Payment cards format
  • Willingness to pay
  • Bangladesh