How Much Are Floridians Willing to Pay for Protecting Sea Turtles from Sea Level Rise?

Environ Manage. 2016 Jan;57(1):176-88. doi: 10.1007/s00267-015-0590-1. Epub 2015 Aug 30.


Sea level rise (SLR) is posing a great inundation risk to coastal areas. Some coastal nesting species, including sea turtle species, have experienced diminished habitat from SLR. Contingent valuation method (CVM) was used in an effort to assess the economic loss impacts of SLR on sea turtle nesting habitats for Florida coasts; and to elicit values of willingness to pay (WTP) of Central Florida residents to implement certain mitigation strategies, which would protect Florida's east coast sea turtle nesting areas. Using the open-ended and dichotomous choice CVM, we sampled residents of two Florida communities: Cocoa Beach and Oviedo. We estimated the WTP of households from these two cities to protect sea turtle habitat to be between $42 and $57 per year for 5 years. Additionally, we attempted to assess the impact of the both the respondents' demographics and their perception toward various situations on their WTP value. Findings include a negative correlation between the age of a respondent and the probability of an individual willing to pay the hypothetical WTP amount. We found that WTP of an individual was not dependent on prior knowledge of the effects of SLR on sea turtle habitat. The greatest indicators of whether or not an individual was willing to pay to protect sea turtle habitat were the respondents' perception regarding the trustworthiness and efficiency of the party which will implement the conservation measures and their confidence in the conservation methods used. Respondents who perceive sea turtles having an effect on their life were also more likely to pay.

Keywords: Contingent valuation; Ecosystem service valuation; Florida; Sea level rise; Sea turtle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / economics*
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods
  • Ecosystem
  • Female
  • Florida
  • Humans
  • Knowledge
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Seawater / chemistry
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / economics
  • Turtles / growth & development*