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Different cultures, different values: The role of cultural variation in public’s WTP for marine species conservation

Ressurreição, Adriana; Gibbons, James; Kaiser, Michel; Dentinho, Tomaz Ponce; Zarzycki, Tomasz; Bentley, Charlotte; Austen, Melanie; Burdon, Daryl; Atkins, Jonathan; Santos, Ricardo S.; Edwards-Jones, Gareth


Adriana Ressurreição

James Gibbons

Michel Kaiser

Tomaz Ponce Dentinho

Tomasz Zarzycki

Charlotte Bentley

Melanie Austen

Daryl Burdon

Ricardo S. Santos

Gareth Edwards-Jones


Understanding the cultural variation in public preference for marine species is a necessary pre-requisite if conservation objectives are to include societal preferences in addition to scientific considerations. We report the results of a contingent study undertaken at three case-study sites: Azores islands (Portugal), Gulf of Gdansk (Poland) and Isles of Scilly (UK). The study considered species richness of five specific marine taxa (mammals, birds, fish, invertebrates and algae) as proxies of marine biodiversity and the aim of analysis was to estimate from a multi-site perspective public’s willingness to pay (WTP) to avoid increased levels of species loss (reduction of species richness) for different marine taxa. Results, based on 1502 face-to-face interviews, showed that income, education and environmental awareness of the respondents were significant predictors of WTP for marine species conservation. Results also indicated that respondents in each of the European locations had different preferences for marine taxa. In the Azores, although mammals and fish were valued highly, small differences occurred in the WTP among different taxa. Respondents in the Isles of Scilly put a relatively low value on fish while algae and marine mammals were highly valued. In Gdansk, respondents defined a clear order of preference for marine mammals>fish>birds>invertebrates and algae. These findings suggested that cultural differences may be important drivers of valuation and undermines the commonly held premise that charismatic/likeable taxa consistently have a disproportionately strong influence on WTP for biodiversity conservation. We conclude that conservation policy must take account of cultural diversity alongside biological diversity.


Ressurreição, A., Gibbons, J., Kaiser, M., Dentinho, T. P., Zarzycki, T., Bentley, C., …Edwards-Jones, G. (2012). Different cultures, different values: The role of cultural variation in public’s WTP for marine species conservation. Biological Conservation, 145(1), 148-159.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 31, 2011
Online Publication Date Nov 21, 2011
Publication Date 2012-01
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2014
Publicly Available Date Nov 13, 2014
Journal Biological conservation
Print ISSN 0006-3207
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 145
Issue 1
Pages 148-159
Keywords Marine biodiversity; Multi-site study; Contingent valuation; Willingness to pay; Biodiversity loss; Payment card
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Biological conservation. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Biological conservation, v.145, issue 1 (2012) DOI10.1016/j.biocon.2011.10.026. NOTE: title of authors' version is: Different cultures, different values: the role of cultural variation in public's willingness to pay for marine species conservation.


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