With increasing attention on the contribution of ecosystems to human well-being, there is a need for tools that integrate ecological and economic models for valuing ecosystem services. To address this, we develop a protocol for linking ecological processes and outcomes to human preferences, which combines environmental modeling, expert elicitation, and nonmarket valuation methods. Our application values reductions in nutrient loads to lakes in the southeastern US. The innovation centers on how biochemical measures of water quality (e.g., chlorophyll a) are translated into terms that are meaningful to individuals who derive ecosystem services from them. Using expert elicitation data, we estimate a model linking changes in biochemical measures to an index of eutrophication in lakes. We then develop a stated preference survey including (a) detailed descriptions of the perceptible outcomes – e.g., water color, clarity – associated each eutrophication index level; and (b) policy scenarios involving state-level changes in lake eutrophication conditions. We estimate a function that predicts households' willingness to pay for changes in lake water quality. We demonstrate the protocol through a case study examining the benefits of lake quality improvement in Virginia as a result of recent policies to reduce nutrient loads in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Combining expert elicitation and stated preference methods to value ecosystem services from improved lake water quality
Van Houtven, G., Mansfield, C., Phaneuf, DJ., von Haefen, R., Milstead, B., Kenney, MA., & Reckhow, KH. (2014). Combining expert elicitation and stated preference methods to value ecosystem services from improved lake water quality. Ecological Economics, 99, 40-52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.12.018
To contact an RTI author, request a report, or for additional information about publications by our experts, send us your request.
Multifaceted risk for non-suicidal self-injury only versus suicide attempt in a population-based cohort of adults
Long-term effects of a diet supplement containing Cannabis sativa oil and Boswellia serrata in dogs with osteoarthritis following physiotherapy treatments
The importance of quality data to track global progress in addressing stillbirths and neonatal mortality