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Valuation study of urban bushland at Hartfield Park, Forrestfield, Western Australia

Authors

  • Coral Pepper,

  • Laura McCann,

  • Michael Burton


  • Coral Pepper is currently a research associate with the School of Education, Murdoch University, South St, Murdoch 6150 (Email: coral. pepper@murdoch.edu.wa ). Dr Laura McCann, who was a lecturer at UWA when this work was completed, is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Missouri, 214B Mumford Hall, Columbia, MO 65211-6200 (Email: mccannl@missouri.edu). Dr Michael Burton is Associate Professor, Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of W.A. Hackett Drive, Crawley 6907 (Email: mpburton@agric.uwa.edu.au). The study was undertaken as partial fulfilment of the degree of Master of Science in Natural Resource Management at the University of W.A. Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia.

Abstract

Summary  Hartfield Park bushland represents a typical area of Perth urban bushland, and is identified as one site worthy of protection in the Western Australian Government's Bush Forever Plan. Two thirds of the Reserve is developed and parts of the remaining bushland are under threat of future development for parking and playing fields. This paper reports a study undertaken to estimate the economic value placed by the community on a specified urban bushland site using the contingent valuation method, a stated preference, non-market valuation technique which captures both use and non-use values. Because environmental goods such as urban bushland exist without organized markets, they are often omitted from the decision-making process regarding the socially optimal management of resources. In estimating a valuation for Hartfield Park, it may be included in any cost–benefit analysis conducted for the site in future. A survey was conducted across the Perth metropolitan area during April 2001 that involved the mail out of 1000 questionnaires to names and addresses obtained at random from the Western Australia Electoral Roll. A 54% response rate was obtained. Regression analysis was used to predict the probability of people being willing to pay for the preservation of this urban bushland and the significant predictors of willingness to pay related to income and educational levels rather than proximity to or knowledge of the site. Willingness to pay was also estimated and the results indicate a conservative mean willingness to pay for the preservation of the bushland of $A21.60 per person per annum. Extrapolation of this figure across the total adult metropolitan community resulted in an estimated valuation of $A16.6 million. Median willingness to pay was also estimated and equalled $A4.35 per person per annum with a valuation for the total adult metropolitan community equal to $A3.3 million. Extrapolation of these mean and median figures across Perth households rather than adult individuals resulted in an estimated valuation of $A9.6 million and $A1.9 million, respectively. These figures indicate that the community value for this environmental amenity may exceed the costs of providing alternative facilities elsewhere.

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