Estimating the Non-use Values and Related Compensative Surplus of Arasbaran Forests in Iran: An Application of the Choice Experiment Method

  • Maryam HaghjouEmail author
  • Babollah Hayati
  • Esmaeil Pishbahar
  • Morteza Molaei
Part of the Perspectives on Development in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region book series (PDMENA)


Given the importance of forest resources and the fact that a significant part of the value of natural resources including forests, is their non-use value, this study estimates the non-use value of Arasbaran forests in Iran using the choice experiment technique. We employed data from 334 visitors and citizens in ten cities in three provinces of Iran: East Azerbaijan, Wes Azerbaijan, and Ardabil. These were chosen using the two-stage cluster sampling method. Our results show that the total non-use value of Arasbaran forests is about 1704.199 billion rial (about 40.57 million USD) in which 76% is the “option” value and 17 and 7% are existence and bequest values, respectively. Moreover, the results of the estimation of compensating for the surplus non-use value show that this would be worth about 16038182 rial (about 381.86 USD) per month. Our results also show that factors like respondents’ educational levels, income, number of annual visits, and favorable attitudes toward Arasbaran forests, have positive and significant effects on their willingness to pay (WTP) for the non-use value of the forests. The results of this study can serve as a guideline for decision makers and for planning forest protection programs which can help attract public participation in the conservation and sustainable use of this valuable natural resource in Iran.


  1. Baral NM, Stern J, Bhattarai R (2008) Contingent valuation of ecotourism in Annapurna conservation area, Nepal: implications for sustainable park finance and local development. Ecol Econ 66(2–3):218–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bateman IJ, Cole MA, Georgiou S, Hadley DJ (2006) Comparing contingent valuation and contingent ranking: a case study considering the benefits of urban river water quality improvements. J Environ Manage 79(3):221–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bateman IJ, Willis KG (1999) Valuing environmental preferences: theory and practice of the contingent valuation method in the US, EU, and developing countries. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  4. Cerda C, Ponce A, Zappi M (2013) Using choice experiments to understand public demand for the conservation of nature: a case study in a protected area of Chile. J Nat Conserv 21(3):143–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chae D, Wattage P, Pascoe S (2012) Recreational benefits from a marine protected area: a travel cost analysis of Lundy. Tour Manag 33(4):971–977CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. FAO (2010) Forest state of the world’s forests. Food and Agriculture Organization, RomeGoogle Scholar
  7. Garrod GD, Willis KG (1997) The non-use benefits of enhancing forest biodiversity: a contingent ranking study. Ecol Econ 21(1):45–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hayati B, Salehnia M, Hosseinzadeh J, Dashti GH (2011) Estimation of recreational value of Fadak park in Khoy city by individual cost method. First Conference on Urban Economics of Iran, Mashhad, Nov. 23–24 (in Persian)Google Scholar
  9. Hanely N, Wright R, Koop G (2002) Modelling recreation demand using choice experiments: rock climbing in Scotland. Environ Res Econ 22:449–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hausman J, McFadden D (1984) Specification tests for the multinomial logit model. J Jpn Int Econ 52(5):1219–1240Google Scholar
  11. Heal GM, Barbier EB, Boyle KJ, Covich AP, Gloss SP, Hershner CH, Hoehn J, Pringle CM, Polasky S, Segerson K, Schrader-Ferchette K (2005) Valuing ecosystem services: toward better environmental decision-making. The National Academies Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  12. Jahanshahi D, Mousavi N (2011) The economic valuation of environmental amenities, Case Study: Yasouj waterfall. The first International Conference on Tourism Management and Sustainable Development, Marvdasht, 29–30 Sep (in Persian)Google Scholar
  13. Khodaverdizadeh M, Hayati B, Kavousi M (2008) Estimating the outdoor recreation value of Kandovan tourism village of East Azarbaijan with the use of contingent valuation method. J Environ Sci 4:43–54 (in Persian)Google Scholar
  14. Kumar S, Kant S (2007) Exploded logit modeling of stakeholders’ preferences for multiple forest values. Forest Policy Econ 9(5):516–526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Krinsky I, Robb AL (1986) On approximating the statistical properties of elasticities. Rev Econ Stat 68(4):715–719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Liu X, Wirtz KW (2010) Managing coastal area resources by stated choice experiments. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 86(3):512–517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Meyerhoff J, Liebe U, Hartje V (2009) Benefits of biodiversity enhancement due to nature-oriented silviculture: evidence from two choice experiments in Germany. J Forest Econ 15(1/2):37–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mogas J, Riera P, Bennett J (2009) A comparison of contingent valuation and choice modeling with second-order interactions. J Forest Econ 12(1):5–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Molaei M (2009) Economic-environmental valuation of Arasbaran forest ecosystem. Ph.D. Thesis, Faculty of Economics and Agricultural Development. University of Tehran (in Persian)Google Scholar
  20. Natural Resources Office of East Azarbaijan Province (2003) Protecting the Northern Arasbaran Forests (In Persian)Google Scholar
  21. Orme B (1998) Sample size issues for conjoint analysis studies. Sawtooth Software Inc., ProvoGoogle Scholar
  22. Pak M, Turker MF, Ozturk A (2010) Total economic value of forest resources in Turkey. Afr J Agric Res 5(15):1908–1916Google Scholar
  23. Pascual U, Muradian R, Brander LM, Gomez-Baggethun E, Martin-Lopez B, Verma M, Armsworth P, Christie M, Cornelissen H, Eppink F, Farley J, Loomis JB, Pearson L, Perrings C, Polasky S (2010) The economics of valuing ecosystem services and biodiversity. In: Kumar P (ed) The economics of ecosystems and biodiversity: ecological and economic foundations. Earthscan, London, pp 183–256Google Scholar
  24. Pattison JK (2009) The non-market valuation of wetland restoration and retention in Manitob. M.Sc Thesis in Agricultural and Environmental Economics. University of Alberta, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  25. Salehnia M (2011) Estimating willingness to pay for improvement in Lake Urmia’s environmental situation using choice experiment. Master Thesis, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Tabriz (in Persian)Google Scholar
  26. Sattout EJ, Talhouk SN, Caligari PDS (2007) Economic value of cedar relics in Lebanon: an application of contingent valuation method for conservation. Ecol Econ 61:315–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sayadi S, Roa CG, Requena JC (2005) Ranking versus scale rating in conjoint analysis: evaluating landscapes in mountainous regions in southeastern Spain. Ecol Econ 55(4):539–550CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Tao Z, Yan H, Zhan J (2012) Economic valuation of forest ecosystem services in Heshui watershed using contingent valuation method. Proced Environ Sci 13:2445–2450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Taylor T, Longo A (2010) Valuing algal bloom in the black sea coast of Bulgaria: a choice experiments approach. J Environ Manag 91(10):1963–1971CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Train K (2003) Discrete choice methods with simulation. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wallmo K, Lew D (2011) Valuing improvements to threatened and endangered marine species: an application of stated preference choice experiments. J Environ Manag 92(7):1793–1801CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. World Bank (2005) Islamic Republic of Iran cost assessment of environmental degradation, Sector Not, No. 32043-IR. Available at

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maryam Haghjou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Babollah Hayati
    • 1
  • Esmaeil Pishbahar
    • 1
  • Morteza Molaei
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural EconomicsUniversity of TabrizTabrizIran
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural EconomicsUrmia UniversityUrmiaIran

Personalised recommendations