The objective is to assess the economic value that selected endemic species of the Azores have for residents and travellers, through a contingent valuation method to build: a) A decision support system that can be used by decision makers; b) An online database that can be used by other researchers and for didactic purposes; and c) Policy recommendations for particularly sensitive species and areas, in what concerns uses such as tourism, agriculture, construction, fishing, and island water management. For this, we propose a composite methodology where, in a first phase, build a database will all available information on protected species in the Azores, including spatial distribution, rarity indexes and conservation status. A very large part of the information needed for this base information has already been gathered, organized and made public, while other remains private but available upon request. Once completed, the database will be used to select the most relevant species for valuation (by taxon and considering their rarity and threat degree, giving preference to endemic species) and the places and islands where to apply the questionnaires for the contingent valuation of biodiversity in the Azores.
In the second stage we will design contingent valuation questionnaires and apply them to the general public and relevant stakeholders, to ascertain the value of these species. The data will be treated and the results will be presented to the scientific community, stakeholders and general public for discussion. After this step, we will have enough information to assemble a full decision-support system tailored for defining conservation priorities in the face of economic, cultural and social activities, which will be shared with the relevant authorities and stakeholders such as environmental NGOs.
Regional Directorate for Science and Technology - (M212/I/039/2011).
Responsible researcher: Tomaz Dentinho R&D Unit: CEEAplA Webpage: http://www.ceeapla.uac.pt/.