Economic appraisal of ecosystem services and restoration scenarios in a tropical coastal Ramsar wetland in India
By: Sinclair M., Vishnu Sagar M.K., Knudsen C., Sabu J., Ghermandi A.
Published in: Ecosystem Services
SDGs : SDG 14 | Units: Social Sciences | Time: 2021 | Link
Description: Valuation of ecosystem services can play an important role in guiding decision-making concerning the restoration of natu ral ecosystems which is particularly important in tropical coastal wetlands due to their widespread deterioration. This study investigates the environmental status and provision of key ecosystem services of the Ashtamudi lake Ramsar site in Kerala, India, and explores the feasibility of wetland restoration scenarios through a multi-year program involving stakeholder workshops, primary market data collection, and stated preference non-market valuation. Relying on the input of local stakeholders, we apply a choice experiment to estimate the willingness to pay for wetland restoration scenarios with a focus on water quality, mangrove conservation and sustainable fisheries. Results indicate that local stakeholders attribute the greatest value to mangrove conservation, followed by water quality and sustainably managed fisheries. Furthermore, we show that the local residents’ willingness to pay for modest and moderate wetland improvement scenarios may outweigh the potential cost of the restoration projects, especially for modest restoration objectives and even under conservative assumptions regarding the benefits and costs of restoration. We discuss how such results can inform local policy in the development of sustainable management practices and act as a benchmark for the extensive network of wetlands in Kerala. © 2020 Elsevier B.V.