Do scientists and the public see eye to eye?

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1 SCHOOL OF AGRICULTURAL & RESOURCE ECONOMICS Do scientists and the public see eye to eye? Valuing the Kimberley s tropical waterways and wetlands Jonelle Cleland and Abbie McCartney

2 Acknowledgements EERH (Environmental Economics Research Hub) TRACK (Tropical Rivers & Coastal Knowledge Research Hub)

3 Key points Comparing preferences of scientists and the public for different conservation outcomes: Highly relevant to policy Limited research In the case of the Kimberley s waterways and wetlands, preferences do diverge

4 The issue Historically, science & technology related policy has been expert-based Today, participatory claims are strong across these policy arenas But consultation is resource intensive!

5 Research on the topic Studies have generally focused on differences in perceptions Previous efforts using CM to compare public/scientist preferences for the environment have not used the same elicitation method for both populations, or have not asked the same question of each group

6 An alternative approach Equivalent choice experiment surveys administered to scientist and public samples to estimate non-market environmental values Requires considerable effort on survey design to: (1) ensure scientist and public buy-in (2) take into account potential differences in understanding and cognitive processing

7 CERF Project 3 case studies Urban & agricultural Remote Specific system Further research Ningaloo Marine Park Broad scale system Southwest Australia Ecoregion Kimberley Tropical Waterways

8 Case study outline Kimberley tropical waterways Institutional setting Attribute definition Survey and experimental design Results: Testing for preference homogeneity amongst samples Partworths for public and scientists

9 Institutional setting Increasing political focus on Northern Australia s water resources The Kimberley whereby Sustainable development will take place by drawing on good science and the knowledge of local communities and stakeholders (Government of Australia 2008)

10 Attribute definition Knowledge base approach Scientist knowledge Activist knowledge Indigenous knowledge The mix of knowledge bases sees a range of attributes that could be potentially included in CE

11 Attributes Attributes Attribute Levels Wild rivers Number of Priority 1 wild rivers 17 (base level) Iconic places Percentage area of native vegetation in good condition at iconic sites 80% (base level) 89% 98% Representative ecosystems Number of bioregions with at least 10% protected by reserves 2 (base level) 3 4 Threatened species Split design Iconic species Split design

12 Threatened species attributes Split Attribute Levels Fish Upstream migration of Freshwater Sawfish in the Fitzroy River during dry season Restricted (base level) Unrestricted Bird Number of Purple-crowned Fairy Wren populations protected by reserves 3 (base level) 6 9 Plant Number of Edgar Range Pandanus populations protected by reserves 0 (base level) 1 2

13 Iconic species attributes Split Attribute Levels Fish Upstream migration of Barramundi in the Ord River during dry season Restricted (base level) Unrestricted Bird Chance of seeing Brolgas at wetland sites 70% (base level) 80% 90% Plant Percentage of wetland margin covered by Blue Lily s 20% (base level) 30% 40%

14 Survey design Bird species attributes Low information High information Public Plant species attributes Low information High information Fish species attributes Low information High information Scientist survey Fish species attributes High information

15 Information framework Attribute Low Information High Information Definition Basic Detailed Environmental significance Basic Detailed Description of status quo Yes Yes Explicit links between threats and abatement No Yes Supporting diagrams No Yes Photos Yes Yes

16 Choice set design Payment vehicle: Payment collected through increased taxes, user fees, goods and services associated with the Kimberley Levels: $0 (status quo only), $50, $100, $150 2 alternatives + status quo option Status quo zero cost, zero conservation improvement (base levels).

17 Experimental design Experimental design: Efficient designs generated by the Ngene software (Rose et al. 2008) Public 18 choice sets blocked in to 2 (9 sets per respondent) Scientists 15 choice sets Two-way interactions in the design: Representative ecosystems and the bird threatened species both used reserves as a component of the attribute level Representative ecosystems and the plant threatened species both used reserves as a component of the attribute level The fish threatened and iconic species both used migration ability as an attribute level

18 Choice scenario

19 Sample Statistics Web-based Public survey (November 2009) West Australian public sample, collected by online research company 5% response rate 2,370 entered the survey 55% completion rate 1,302 completed the survey Scientist survey (May-August 2010) 80 Australian tropical scientists invited to participate 43 responded 33 completed

20 Utility Function

21 Preference homogeneity across samples Bird species attributes Low information High information Public Plant species attributes Low information High information Fish species attributes Low information High information Scientist survey Fish species attributes High information

22 ***, **, * denotes significance at the 99%, 95% and 90% level of confidence respectively. Partworths fish models Attribute: Fish low info $ Fish high info $ Scientist $ Wild Rivers 26 pristine rivers 16* 20** 99*** 35 pristine rivers 27** 40*** 168*** Iconic Place 89% vegetation in good condition 19** 36*** 46** 98% vegetation in good condition 44*** 40*** 19 Representative ecosystems 3 bioregions with >10% reserves 25*** 20** 41* 4 bioregions with >10% reserves 17* 18** 53** Threatened species Unrestricted sawfish migration 47*** 43*** 125*** Iconic species Unrestricted barramundi migration 57*** 25*** -4

23 Links between iconic places and aesthetics Attribute: Iconic Place $ s: Fish Public, Low Information 89% good veg. 98% good veg. Vegetation in good condition 19** 44*** If waterfalls were a feature of interest during visit to Kimberley 50*** 92*** Attribute: Iconic Place $ s: Fish Public, High Information 89% good veg. 98% good veg. Vegetation in good condition 36*** 40*** If gorges were a feature of interest during visit to Kimberley 66*** 79***

24 Membership of conservation groups Attribute: $ s: Fish Public, High Information Wild Rivers 26 rivers 35 rivers Pristine wild rivers 20** 40*** If belonged to an environmental/conservation group 65** 113*** Iconic species Unrestricted migration Barramundi migration 25*** If belonged to an environmental/conservation group 85*** Attribute: $ s: Fish Scientist Representative ecosystems 3 bioregions 4 bioregions Bioregions with >10% protected by reserves 41* 53** If belonging to an environmental/conservation group 151*** 172***

25 Conclusions Preferences diverge Public and scientist samples could not be combined into one homogeneous model Public WTP higher for iconic places and iconic species Scientist WTP higher for wild rivers, representative ecosystems and threatened species Scientists have heterogeneous preferences

26 Implications Where preferences are considered likely to diverge, relying on scientific expert judgement may not be adequate and public consultation methods such as CM are an important component to inform policy Decision makers should be aware that scientists have heterogeneous preferences when interpreting their opinions

27 Integration Comparing results from the three case studies: SW Australia Ecoregion, Ningaloo Marine Park, Kimberley tropical waterways & wetlands Ningaloo results: Evidence of preference divergence between public and scientists in terms of opting for conservation programs But: convergence of values for all of the attributes considered in the study Public knowledge and awareness factors are expected to have played a role in this convergence

28 Further research ARC linkage project Swan River case study (the missing quadrant) with David Pannell, Michael Burton, John Rolfe, Jessica Meeuwig Will investigate how payment vehicles may play a role in preference formation for public and scientists

29 For further information: EERH Report No. 60 The Value of Tropical Waterways and Wetlands: does an increase in knowledge change community preferences EERH Report No. 77 Putting the Spotlight on Attribute Definition: divergence between experts and the public EERH Report No. 79 Putting the Spotlight on Attribute Definition: a knowledge base approach EERH Report No. 80 Comparing scientist and public preferences for conserving environmental systems: a case of the Kimberley s waterways and wetlands and the Southwest Australia Ecoregion

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