The applicability of the contingent valuation method for determining the non-market values of the high country landscape
Thesis DisciplineEnvironmental Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury and Lincoln College
Degree NameMaster of Science
The landscape of the high country and the changes that are occurring to it are discussed. These changes may be viewed as either negative or positive. One agent of change is the self-spread of exotic conifers, and this is a focus of the study. This is because many of the possible changes occurring to the high country landscape are, or can be, a consequence to the possible responses to this spread. Benefit-cost analysis is considered as a tool for assisting in making decisions. Because the landscape is a classic public good it has a non-market value that is not readily apparent. If rational decisions and responses are to be made about the changes occurring in the high country, the non-market values need to be quantified and considered. Various methods of non-market valuation are briefly assessed. The contingent valuation method is considered most appropriate for assess the non-market values of the high country landscape. However assessing the landscape is considered to be a personal and subjective experience. There is a lack of familiarity of viewing the landscape as a commodity within a context of tradeoffs. This is a likelihood of “contamination” of any value derived by ideological or non-economic values. Problems with willingness-to-pay measures not reflecting the “true” compensation that would be required because of the phenomenon of loss aversion are also considered. Consequently it is considered that given the present state of the arts that any measurement using contingent valuation would be subject to serious distortion. However, it is noted that even order of magnitude estimates can be of value in the decision making process.