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Testing the regional transferability of coastal recreation values for report card application with limited data

Windle, Jill, Rolfe, John
Ecological indicators 2019 v.98 pp. 218-227
coasts, data collection, economic indicators, economic valuation, environmental indicators, financial economics, outdoor recreation, socioeconomics, tourism, Australia, Great Barrier Reef
Including socio-economic indicators in aquatic health report cards is becoming more common place, with the Gladstone Harbour Report Card a pioneering example in Australia. There has been limited consensus about the selection and range of social and economic indicators applied in different aquatic report cards. However, because tourism and recreation are one of the main ways people experience and enjoy aquatic resources, particularly in coastal areas, these uses have typically been included as socio-economic indicators. Estimating the economic value of recreation is more challenging than for tourism as specialist nonmarket valuation techniques are required, which can be expensive and time consuming to apply. One alternative is to estimate the economic benefits of outdoor recreation from secondary sources in a process known as benefit transfer.The aim of this study is to test the transferability of the recreation values estimated for the Gladstone Harbour Report Card for application in other similar report cards. A paucity of similar valuation studies limited the scope for comparison. An alternative approach was employed where an existing dataset was analysed to test for cross regional similarity and the results applied to infer the transferability of the Gladstone Harbour value for beach recreation. The results indicate that regional values for beach recreation are generally transferable across the large area (1400 km) of the Great Barrier Reef coastal zone and should be applicable elsewhere. However, the valuation scope can influence transferability and broader regional valuations are more transferable than smaller scale valuations. It is suggested that while for some purposes a more statistically robust definition of value equivalence maybe required, it is not necessary for report card purposes and transfer errors of up to 73% are acceptable.