Wetland valuation methods often apply monetary driven approaches that may undermine intrinsic ecosystem values. Utilizing a stated preference method, the study identified and mapped local stakeholder ecosystem service values between subsistence wetland and shrimp farmer groups in Can Gio, Vietnam. Through focus group choice experiments, ecosystem services correlating to unique price increments and cost/benefit tradeoffs between hypothetical intensive aquaculture developments and mangrove conservation scenarios were investigated. Selection outcomes exhibited strong values for ecosystem services maintained at the hypothetical natural state (core area pre-intervention 45%, post-intervention 55%; buffer zone pre-intervention 65%, post-intervention 73%). Few respondents selected the hypothetical intensive aquaculture development scenario (core area pre-intervention 18%, post-intervention 9%; buffer zone pre-intervention 12%, post-intervention 5%), and instead, most respondents avoided the costs and benefits of intensive aquaculture development in preference for maintaining natural ecosystem services. Group deliberations drew out a higher sense of altruism and responsiveness to intrinsic wetland values that superseded the potential economic gains of aquaculture developments, whereby certain ecosystem services were deemed economically unassociable and irreplaceable for both study groups. The qualitative results expose the difficulties in monetarily measuring ecosystem services, highlighting the need to incorporate approaches that integrate the intrinsic values attached to ecosystem services.
- Ecosystem services
- Environmental values
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Decision Sciences(all)
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics