Economic Valuation of Recreational Ecosystem Services of a Freshwater Urban Wetland in Assam

  • Supriya Hazarika
    Research Scholar,
    Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
    Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, West Bengal


  • The present research aims to assess the demand pattern and economic valuation of the recreational ecosystem services of the urban freshwater wetland Deeporbeel, which is the only Ramsar site of international importance in Assam. The study also intends to determine the willingness to pay (WTP) of the visitors for the conservation and better use of the wetland resources under the conditions of changing the environmental quality and recreational infrastructure of the wetland. For the estimation process, we are applyingthe travel cost method (TCM) andthe contingent valuation method (CVM) of ecosystem services valuation. We are using primary data collected through an interview schedule. The findings show that, under the current conditions, the visitors derive an annual consumer surplus of INR 41.5million from the recreational benefits at the site. With the imposition of an entry fee along with site improvement, the consumer surplus is INR 92 million, which is higher than the earlier case. Based on the findings, we recommend that the wetland authority should introduce an entry fee not exceeding INR 30 per person per visit from which the potential revenue the government can earn ranges from INR 240,000 to INR 720,000. Although this amount of income is not enough to make infrastructure development in a large wetland like Deeporbeel, the government can think of additional fund-generating strategies such as a vehicle-parking fee to contribute to the revenue for maintenance of the beel. The present study is expected to help the policymakers frame suitable policies for the wise use and management of the wetland.

  • Key words: travel cost; contingent valuation, consumer surplus; WTP.

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