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Title:Three essays on conservation: dynamic and spatial reserve design and values and preferences for ecosystem restoration
Author(s):Dissanayake, Sahan
Director of Research:Önal, Hayri; Ando, Amy W.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Ando, Amy W.; Brazee, Richard J.; Polasky, Stephen; Westervelt, Westervelt D.
Department / Program:Agr & Consumer Economics
Discipline:Agricultural & Applied Econ
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Environmental Economics
Dynamic Reserve Design
Spatial Reserve Design
Choice Experiment Surveys
Non-Market Valuation
Preferences for Restoring Ecosystems
Abstract:This dissertation contributes to the growing literature on the allocation of land for conservation in three fronts. First, I create a dynamic reserve design framework that incorporates location based amenity price effects and uncertainty of development and I study the impact of amenity price effects on site selection decisions. I find that the dynamic model with price feedback effects selects sites at a lower per-site cost. The policy implication of this finding is that conservation programs should avoid purchasing land in the same neighborhood over multiple time periods. Second, I study the public’s willingness to pay (WTP) for restoring ecosystems using a choice experiment survey and I analyze the structure of preferences over ecosystem attributes. The results reveal several interesting patterns of consumer preferences and choice. First, I find that the presence of nearby existing grasslands actually increases a respondent’s WTP for restoring a new grassland; this result is counter to what would be expected from neoclassical economics and can possibly be explained by endogenous preferences. Second, I find that respondents treat the conservation success measures as substitutes for each other. This latter finding implies that value-maximizing grassland design might well display corner solutions in which restoration ecologists maximize the value of a single conservation goal – producing endangered-species havens or duck factories – rather than aiming for balanced bundles of these attributes. I finally analyze the impact of including attribute interaction terms on the total willingness to pay (TWTP) and on the TWTP maximizing set of conservation success variables. Third, in joint work with researchers from the US Army Corps of Engineers, I study the allocation of land for conservation given alternative land uses and relocation and clustering considerations using land allocation models that are applied to US military installations. I create spatial linear integer programming site selection models and apply them to selecting land for conservation of Gopher Tortoise, a key stone species currently considered ‘at risk’, at Ft. Benning GA and Ft. Stewart GA. The results show that it is possible to incorporate spatial criteria into land selection models and that conservation goals can be met in lands that are simultaneously used for military training.
Issue Date:2012-02-06
Rights Information:© 2011 Sahan. T. M. Dissanayake
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-02-06
Date Deposited:2011-12

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