Using the Contingent Valuation Method to Assess Communities’ Willingness to Accept Compensation for Waterbird Nest Protection in the 3S Rivers, Cambodia
Anthropogenic impacts are the greatest threat to survival of plant and animal populations worldwide. The importance of involving local communities in conservation is evident, yet poverty and livelihood concerns may preclude community participation in conservation, especially in developing countries. Payment for ecosystem services (PES) may enable local participation. However, payments need to be acceptable to communities while remaining within project budgets. Contingent valuation (CV) can be useful for establishing a community’s willingness to accept (WTA) compensation for participation in conservation activities and for associated opportunity costs. In the Sekong, Sesan, and Srepok (3S) River basin of Cambodia, a community-based nest protection program utilizing PES is being implemented for six waterbird species. This scheme employs local communities to prevent human exploitation (harvest of eggs and chicks) and disturbance at nesting sites. The program provides guard salaries as an incentive to local communities to report nest sites and ensure their success, rather than harvesting their contents. This study aimed to establish an appropriate level of conservation incentives for local communities to take part in conservation activities. We used CV methods to assess community WTA compensation for participating in conservation activities. Specifically, this chapter evaluates the acceptability of different payment levels by community respondents. This information will be useful for future implementation of the waterbird nest protection program in the 3S River basin, as well as for other conservation projects in Cambodia. Moreover, our approach to assessing communities’ WTA compensation for participating in the conservation project can be applied to other similar participatory, community-based conservation programs.
KeywordsBiodiversity conservation Cambodia Conservation incentive Contingent valuation Payment for ecosystem services
We would like to thank the Cambodian Forestry and Fisheries Administrations and the Ministry of Environment, as well as the Stung Treng and Ratanakiri provincial Forestry and Fisheries Cantonments. We would like to register our profound appreciation to local communities and district and commune authorities for administrative support and facilitation of project implementation. Also, we are grateful to our partner organizations: BirdLife International, 3S River Protection Network, Culture and Environment Preservation Association, and Wildlife Conservation Cambodia. We would like to acknowledge the dedication of our project team, including Sok Samet, Yen Run, Ouch Mara, Pheung Sophea, and Leang Sovichea. Financial support for this project was generously provided by the MacArthur Foundation and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund. Finally, we express our sincere thanks to the local communities along the 3S Rivers for their support and participation in the nest protection program.
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