The socio-cultural value of the Simpson Bay Lagoon. An economic valuation amongst the heterogeneous population of Saint Martin.

Student Report

The Simpson Bay Lagoon provides an important ecological value, as well as numerous ecosystem services to the community of Saint Martin. However, the lagoon has been heavily polluted for many years. The aim of this study is to analyze how the socio-cultural context of the community of Saint Martin determines the value of the ecosystem services provided by the Simpson Bay Lagoon. This will show the ecological and societal importance of maintaining and restoring the lagoon and will give insight into which services are relevant to different stakeholders and which trade-offs need to be taken into account by decision- makers. A survey including a choice experiment and a contingent valuation was the main data collection method in this research. The choice experiment was analyzed with a random parameter logit model, the socio-cultural background was analyzed with one-way ANOVA, Spearman Correlation and regression analyses. From the results of this research can be concluded that different factors of the socio-cultural context determine the appreciation of ecosystem services delivered by the Simpson Bay Lagoon, such as some demographic variables (especially education level), the different constituents of well-being, the participation in recreational activities and environmental behavior and awareness. The results of this study will contribute to effective targeting of strategies to engage the public in improving the environmental quality of the Simpson Bay Lagoon. In addition to showing the societal value of the Simpson Bay Lagoon to decision makers.

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