Estimating willingness to pay for watershed restoration in Flagstaff, Arizona using dichotomous-choice contingent valuation

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Abstract

Forest restoration reduces the probability of catastrophic wildfire and post-fire flooding; it therefore protects the quantity and quality of water in a restored watershed. The Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) is a landscape scale restoration initiative in Northern Arizona. 4FRI plans to restore the majority of the forested watersheds that provide the municipalwater supply for the City of Flagstaff, Arizona (population 65 000). While start-up funding is available for 4FRI, funding sources for future monitoring and maintenance remain uncertain. Oneway to promote financial sustainability for the restoration initiative is to establish a payments system wherein Flagstaff residents pay for a portion of the costs. I present results from a contingent valuation survey estimating Flagstaff residents' willingness to payfor restoration of the Lake MaryandUpper Rio de Flagwatersheds. I find the average household is willing to pay$4.89 permonthto contribute to forest restoration, resulting in potential annual monetary net benefits of up to $1.3M. Thus, the results provide statistically significant evidence in favour for establishing a payments system. This survey focused solely on residents of Flagstaff, Arizona; however, the results are applicable in areas with similar ecosystems where forest restoration provides improved watershed services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-333
Number of pages7
JournalForestry
Volume87
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry

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