Valuing complex environmental goods: landscape and biodiversity in the North Pennines.
Human activities may have detrimental effects on biodiversity, and appropriate economic valuation of biodiversity can provide additional motivation to protect it. To date, there are no estimates of visitor values for landscape and wildlife changes in the North Pennines (UK) and very few studies have explored competing influences of landscape and biodiversity in public preferences. Contingent valuation estimates of visitor values for the North Pennines landscape and biodiversity, as expressed in voluntary contributions, were used to assess the importance of different factors in influencing these valuations. Policy-linked scenarios were developed, each representing the outcome of a particular policy direction such as grouse-moor specific subsidies, back-to-nature subsidies, or a ban or decline in red grouse shooting. The influence of management information provision was tested and economic values were elicited for a number of alternatives. Landscape and biodiversity were both found to be important in preference formation. In particular, respondents highly valued a mosaic landscape with increases in blanket bog and the associated increases in rare and threatened birds and mammals. Notably, significant negative valuations were obtained for some of the scenarios presented. Provision of land use information did not significantly influence visitors' valuations, a surprising result given the controversial nature of one of the primary land uses, namely red grouse shooting.