2021
  • Non-ICIMOD publication

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Stakeholders' use and preservation valuation of lagoon ecosystems

  • Kanesh Suresh
  • Uttam Khanal
  • Clevo Wilson
  • Summary

Globally, lagoons are among the most productive and valuable ecosystems. Human pressure on lagoon ecosystems and their exploitation has been rapidly increasing in recent years. Stakeholder awareness of the existence of lagoon resources and their future potential is vital for future sustainability. This paper explores how and in what circumstances stakeholder preferences relating to lagoon resources differ among key users - fishermen, recreational visitors' and residents who are subjected to flood damage. In particular, we assess stakeholders' preferences for lagoon conservation and their deterioration. This is achieved by employing a discrete choice experiment involving 432 respondents using two phases of a repeated survey in Sri Lanka. Our findings suggest that various stakeholders' perceived value of conservation attributes differ based on their own interest rather than holistic conservation benefits. Moreover, we find that fish diversity, the extent of mangrove coverage, flora and fauna and flood control are the most significant resources in the lagoon ecosystem. This study indicates that lagoon users are seeking greater compensation compared to contributions sought for lagoons' perceived future benefits. These findings contribute to a growing body of empirical work which points to the heterogeneity of lagoon users' preferences and from its various stakeholders. This study suggests that ecosystem management strategies should be based on how its various users value its potential benefits rather than on holistic conservation beliefs and attitudes.