The non-use value of nature in the Netherlands and the Caribbean Netherlands
Since 10 October 2010 Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius (Statia) are part of the Netherlands. These three islands are referred to as the Caribbean Netherlands. The objective of this study is to assess the value that Dutch people as well as non-Dutch residents living in the Netherlands mainland assign to nature in the Caribbean Netherlands. This research applies two different stated preference techniques, the contingent valuation method (CVM) and choice experiments (CE), to determine the Willingness-To-Pay (WTP) of those living in the Netherlands for the conservation of ecosystem services and biodiversity in the Netherlands’ mainland and the Caribbean Netherlands.
Both methods provided new insights into the way people value the non-use values of nature in a national and local context. The surveys provided evidence for a nationalistic and community-based influence on valuation of nature. Both the CVM and the CE methods showed that locally-oriented Dutch citizens value nature in their own neighbourhood or country relatively higher than citizens with a global perspective or foreigners who live in the Netherlands and who place a lower value on improvement of nature in their own environment
Both surveys also showed that the values for nature both in and outside of the Netherlands depend heavily on the emotional mindset of the respondent. For example, individuals who are unconcerned about the state of nature in general value improvements of nature less than those who are concerned about nature. In the same fashion, consumer confidence proved to be a strong explanatory variable for value for nature protection: individuals with a high level of consumer confidence express a higher WTP for nature protection.
Finally, several methodological lessons were drawn from the surveys. These include the detection of ordering, anchoring and scoping effects, as well as the correlation between preference and payment uncertainty.
The estimated WTP amount for non-use values of nature in the Netherlands and the Caribbean Netherlands also allowed for the calculation of the aggregated values of both value domains. The non-adjusted aggregated annual amount of non-use value of nature in the Netherlands and the Caribbean Netherlands is estimated at €65 million and €34 million, respectively. However, by adjusting for preference and payment uncertainty of the respondent, the aggregated annual amount for the non-use value for nature improvements in the Netherlands is estimated at €34 million and for the Caribbean Netherlands at €18 million.