Keywords: biodiversity, contingent valuation, social benefits
An estimation of the social benefits of preserving biodiversity
In this paper, we try to evaluate the benefits of biodiversity restoration in the southwest of France, along the Garonne river. This particular riparian forest has been studied extensively by a group of ecologists belonging to the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) in Toulouse. A contingent valuation method was applied. A representative sample of 402 persons living in the surrounding region (the "departements" Tarn-et-Garonne and Haute-Garonne) was asked in face-to-face interviews about their willingness-to-pay for the restoration programme. Even if these persons are familiar with the good to value because they live close to the river bank (less than 30 km), it appears that they adopt a donation attitude more than a transaction attitude. Moreover, an open-ended question seems preferable to a close-ended question, in contrast to the recommendations made by the American administration.