Posted: November 9, 2021

We use non-market valuation techniques to understand the economic value of private lands conservation to help sustain bird populations.

Global biodiversity is in decline due to factors such as land-use change, pollution, and climate change. Birds contribute to biodiversity in several ways, one way in particular is by cultivating public support for habitat conservation by being a socially desirable category of wildlife.

To understand the social value of bird conservation on private forest lands in Pennsylvania, a statewide web survey was used containing psychometric scales and choice experiment questions (n=690). The data collected was used to identify important attitudinal positions and estimate statewide demand for bird conservation programs under different policy options.

Mean household WTP was estimated to be $11.83 annually and statewide demand was estimated to approach $47 million annually. Nonuse values underpinned much of the utility associated with the proposed habitat conservation programs.

Findings suggest investment in both public education and bird conservation on private lands is a legitimate strategy for mitigating biodiversity loss and enhancing social welfare. Findings are currently in review for publication in a research journal.