Stated Preference Methods for Valuation of Forest Attributes
The valuation methods described in this chapter are based on the idea that forest ecosystems produce a wide variety of goods and services that are valued by people. Rather than focusing attention on the holistic value of forest ecosystems as is done in contingent valuation studies, attribute-based valuation methods (ABMs) focus attention on a set of attributes that have management or policy relevance (Adamowicz et al. 1998a, Bennett and Blarney 2001). The attribute set might include, for example, measures of biological diversity, areas designated for timber production or set aside for conservation, size of timber harvesting gaps, or watershed protection measures. If human-induced changes in forest ecosystems can be meaningfully represented by a set of attributes, choices made by survey respondents among sets of alternatives can provide resource managers and policy makers with detailed information about public preferences for many potential states of the environment. If price is included as an attribute of the problem, a multidimensional valuation surface can be estimated for use in cost/benefit analysis.