environmental valuation and tourist dollars

Rick Grigg rgrigg at iniki.soest.hawaii.edu
Tue Nov 21 13:48:11 EST 2000

Dear Dr. Bla Bla,

	Please be much more concise next time.

					A busy coral lister

At 02:14 PM 11/21/00 -0000, Spurgeon,James wrote:
>In response to some recent issues raised regarding the problem of "tourist
>dollar values", I'd like to make the following points:
>In an ideal world there would be no need for the contentious placing of
>money values on environmental resources like coral reefs. However, like it
>or not, we don't live in an ideal world.  We live in a world with scarce
>resources where many decisions are taken daily by individuals, businesses
>and Governments all of which result in trade-offs.  In the past, those
>decisions have generally been based on conventional market-based economic
>values. Consequently, economics has been used to justify developments and
>resource use without due consideration of the full environmental and social
>effects.   As a result, many damaging and unsustainable decisions have been,
>and continue to be made.  
>This is beginnning to change with the introduction of environmental
>economics, environmental valuation and concepts such as "Total Economic
>Value" (TEV).  In comparison to economics and biology, environmental
>economics is still very much in its embryonic stages. Thus although
>environmental valuation techniques are far from perfect, they are
>continually improving.  Despite this, no single decision-making tool can
>adequately resolve all environmental problems.  Environmental valuation is
>thus a powerful tool that should be used alongside others (e.g. EIAs,
>regulations, protected areas etc).  It is powerful because it can translate
>environmental impacts into monetary values, which, if correctly valued,
>speak far louder than qualitative descriptions.  Decision-makers can readily
>relate to monetary values, but only if they believe them.  Environmental
>valuations must therefore be carried out properly.
>Tourist values are only one component of TEV.  At present, they are
>generally the most obvious reef value and seemingly the most important in
>terms of generating dollars.  However, it is essential to think holistically
>about all relevant environmental and social values.  As coral-listers have
>indicated, many other coral reef values exist.  It is vital that we gain a
>far better understanding of these (direct, indirect and non-use values) and
>begin to develop effective mechanisms and sound arguments to capture these
>benefits.  This is what the study on sustainable financing I presented in
>Bali is helping to address (to be submitted to the Bali proceedings). The
>aim is to hopefully apply the principles and methodology developed in the
>first phase of the study to three MPA sites next year.  Tourist user fees
>are merely the tip of the iceburg.
>In further support of using environmental valuation, I am now successfully
>using it in EIAs to help justify expensive scheme modifications (e.g. for
>port, power plant & pipeline developments) mitigation and compensation
>measures, and comprehensive monitoring programmes needed to protect corals
>and other marine habitats.  
>I am also involved in two national R&D studies for the UK Environment Agency
>to develop a better understanding of non-use/passive values (e.g.
>existence/bequest/option motives) relating to inland fish stocks and water
>levels in rivers.  The studies involve extensive stakeholder analysis and
>large scale resource valuation surveys (using the contingent valuation
>method).  The ultimate aim is to determine relatively robust non-use values
>for use in Government decion-making.  Non-use values are a significant
>component of conservation value that are usually ignored.  Our research
>demonstrates that strong non-use/passive values are held by both non-users
>and users of the resource.  Such values can be estimated in monetary terms
>(to a degree) and there are plenty of ways of capturing the value (albeit
>sometimes potentially introducing problems of a different nature).
>One of the R&D studies is seeking to gain a better understanding of
>different categories of resource users.  This will have ramifications for
>valuing tourist benefits and for undertaking economic impact assessments of
>coral reefs (e.g. with respect to pre-planned and incidental
>diving/snorkelling trips and apportioning tourism expenditures).
>Unfortunately, in the growing literature on the tourism value of corals,
>dubious and incorrect assumptions are often being made regarding links
>between coral reefs, tourism expenditures and tourism benefits.  
>The point is, environmental economics has a potentially immense role to play
>in the future of coral reef conservation if used appropriately.  A number of
>excellent examples of using environmental economics for coral reef
>conservation can now be found in:
>Cesar, H. (Ed.) (2000), "Collected Essays on the Economics of Coral Reefs",
>CORDIO, Kalmar University, Kalmar, Sweden. 
>With respect to my pre-conference request to coral-listers for information
>to help with my sustainable financing study, I'd like to thank those that
>provided useful information and contacts.  The response was not
>overwhelming, but included: 
>*	data on the coral trade in Fiji
>*	reference to the sand supply function of corals
>*	and reference to:
>www.aquariumcouncil.org <http://www.aquariumcouncil.org/>  
>"A valuation book by Alan White and Trinidad on the Philippines" 
>"Integrated Coastal Zone Management of Coral Reefs: Decision Support 
>Modelling" - by Kent Gustavson, Richard M. Huber, and Jack Ruitenbeek,
>I hope this helps.
>James Spurgeon
>Principal Environmental Economist/Scientist
>Gibb Ltd
>Gibb House
>London Rd
>RG6 1BL
>Tel:    0118 963 5000
>Fax:   0118 926 3888
>Email: jspurgeo at gibb.co.uk
>This e-mail does not give rise to any binding legal obligation upon
>GIBB Ltd or any affiliate unless such company subsequently confirms
>the contents in writing, non-electronically. This e-mail may
>be confidential, legally privileged or otherwise protected in law. 
>Unauthorised disclosure or copying of any or all of it may be
>unlawful. If you receive this e-mail in error please contact the
>sender and delete the message. http://www.gibbltd.com
>The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
>sponsors coral-list and the Coral Health and Monitoring Program
>(CHAMP, http://www.coral.noaa.gov).  Please visit the Web site
>for instructions on subscribing and unsubscribing to coral-list.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
sponsors coral-list and the Coral Health and Monitoring Program
(CHAMP, http://www.coral.noaa.gov).  Please visit the Web site
for instructions on subscribing and unsubscribing to coral-list.

More information about the Coral-list-old mailing list