Economic Valuation of Urban Coastal Ecosystem Services and Scenic Beauty
Ranjan. K. R. H. M.*, Guruge. T. P. S. R. and Jayasinghe-Mudalige. U. K.
A lagoon ecosystem provides a variety of ecological functions that directly or indirectly translate to economic services and values. The impact of the loss of cultural services is scarce in literature and particularly difficult to measure. This study generates monetary value for urban ecosystem services specifically the aesthetic value of a natural asset according to the perception of the adjacent community. The data were gathered by using a pre-structured, questionnaire-based personal interview carried out with 300 households representing 15 ‘Thotupola’ areas adjacent to the estuary. Choice Experiment (CE) was used to determine the preferences and the willingness to pay for conservation of urban ecosystem services and natural view. Highest value (530.75) was recorded for provisioning services. Marginal willingness to pay (MWTP) for prawns (272.25) was higher than the value of (258.50) crabs. Second highest MWTP (309.50) was acquired by recreation attribute, scenic beauty of the lagoon. Moreover, local fishing community does not willing to pay for regulatory services such as reduction of flood damage by mangrove and cleaning of polluted lagoon water. Understanding the degree and order of importance of ecosystem non-use values for its direct users is critical for planning for optimum and sustainable management, as properly managed ecosystem can provide continued returns to future generation without diminishing its productivity. The study generates information for decision makers with regard the monetary values for conservation of different ecosystem services and estuary view, to protect the estuary ecosystem through implementing policies and management plans, on urban estuaries and mangrove environment protection.
KEYWORDS: Choice experiment, Ecosystem services, Scenic beauty