Valuing Mangrove Conservation in Southern Thailand

Posted: 8 Apr 2002

See all articles by Edward B. Barbier

Edward B. Barbier

Colorado State University, Fort Collins - Department of Economics

Suthawan Sathirathai

Good Governance for Social Development & the Environmental Institute; University of Bangkok, Thailand - Faculty of Economics

Abstract

Mangroves are ecologically important coastal wetland systems that are under severe threat globally. In Thailand, the main cause of mangrove conversion is shrimp farming, which is a major source of export income for the country. However, local communities benefit from many direct and indirect uses of mangrove ecosystems and may have a strong incentive to protect these areas, which puts them into direct confrontation with shrimp farm operators and, by proxy, government authorities. The article examines whether or not the full conversion of mangroves into commercial shrimp farms is worthwhile once the key environmental impacts are taken into account. The estimated economic value of mangrove forests to a local community is in the range of $27,264-$35,92l per hectare. This estimate includes the value to local communities of direct use of wood and other resources collected from the mangroves as well as additional external benefits in terms of off-shore fishery linkages, and coastline protection from shrimp farms. The results indicate that, although shrimp farming creates enormous private benefits, it is not so economically viable once the externalities generated by mangrove destruction and water pollution are included. There is also an incentive for local communities to protect mangroves, which in turn implies that the rights of local people to guard and protect this resource should be formally recognized and enforced by law.

JEL Classification: Q2, Q12, O1

Suggested Citation

Barbier, Edward B. and Sathirathai, Suthawan, Valuing Mangrove Conservation in Southern Thailand. Contemporary Economic Policy, Vol. 19, No. 2, Pp. 109-122, April 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=303569

Edward B. Barbier (Contact Author)

Colorado State University, Fort Collins - Department of Economics ( email )

Fort Collins, CO 80523-1771
United States

Suthawan Sathirathai

Good Governance for Social Development & the Environmental Institute ( email )

47/10 Soi Amorn Pan 4
Vipawadee-Rangsit Road
Bangkok, 10900
Thailand
9410787 (Phone)
9410787 (Fax)

University of Bangkok, Thailand - Faculty of Economics

Chulalongkorn
Thailand

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