Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Studies

First Advisor's Name

Pallab Mozumder

First Advisor's Committee Title

Major Professor

Second Advisor's Name

Mahadev Bhat

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Professor

Third Advisor's Name

Ligia Collado-Vides

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Professor

Keywords

coral reef, stakeholder, South Florida, willingness to pay, seafood, choice experiment, tax, socio-ecological

Date of Defense

6-12-2014

Abstract

The Florida Reef and associated human community form a unique socio-ecological system. While this system represents great value to society, it is exposed to high levels of vulnerability. Despite intense study of its elements, the system lacks conceptual integrity, its management is fragmented, and user valuation remains unclear. A survey using contingent valuation methods investigated stakeholders' attitudes and how much they are willing to pay for sustainable seafood, coral reef restoration, and research funding for coral reefs in southeastern Florida. Respondents expressed angst about climate change and reef conditions, and they connected reef degradation to land-based pollution and water quality. Regression analysis revealed status (income, education) as weak, indirect predictors of behavior, age as a moderating influence, and environmental and emotive factors as strong, direct predictors. One's relative attachment to ecosystems, such as coral reefs, is theorized as a motivation that displaces the expectations of traditional economic theory.

Identifier

FI14071138

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