Community values for environmental protection in a cane farming catchment in Northern Australia: a choice modelling study

Thilak Mallawaarachchi, Russell Blamey, Mark Morrison, A K L Johnson, Jeff Bennett

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Choice modelling is an emerging approach to estimating the non-use values of environmental services with multiple attributes. In this paper, results are reported of a choice modelling study conducted in the Herbert River District of North Queensland to estimate the value placed on the protection of natural vegetation in areas suitable for cane production by the local community. Resource use options that vary in the level of environmental protection and the level of agricultural production were presented as a series of choice sets and respondents were asked to choose among a set of three discrete alternatives in a given choice set. The alternatives in each choice set were described by four attributes, pertaining to the area of teatree woodlands, the area of vegetation along rivers and in wetlands, regional income from cane production, and an environmental levy. The responses were analysed together with socio-economic data using a nested-logit discrete-choice model to estimate the community willingness-to-pay for the protection of natural vegetation. The results indicate that the environmental values of wetlands are comparable to returns from commercial production of sugar cane and that the values of teatree woodlands are comparable to returns from extensive grazing. It is argued that land allocation policies should recognise these values in tandem with commercial benefits of production to ensure that resources are used more efficiently.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)301-16
    JournalJournal of Environmental Management
    Volume301-316
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2001

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