The Use of Contingent Valuation to Assess the Community Willingness¬to- Pay for the Conservation of Ondiri Swamp, Kikuyu, Kenya'
Muhata, Librata N.
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An estimate of the monetary value of Ondiri Swamp, an endorheic palustrine wetland, located lO km north-west of downtown Nairobi in a peri-urban environment was determined by establishing the monetary level or community willingness-to-pay (WTP) for the conservation of the swamp. The contingent valuation method (CVM) was used by considering the direct, indirect, and non-use benefits of the wetland by asking the local people to indicate the amount of money they were willing to pay per annum in order to conserve the swamp which operates as a common property resource providing a wide range of goods and services, including water, pasture, recreation.and a 'wide range of environmental services to the local people. A mean WTP at Kshs. 399 per household per annum was calculated which gave the overall value or the swamp as Kshs, 1,191,813 or about US$17,026 per annum, which translated to approximately Kshs. 79A54- or US$1,135 per ha. Forty-four per cent of the respondents gave a zero WTI~ of which 12.4 per cent said they could not afford to include conservation in their budget, while 31.3 per cent indicated that conservation of the swamp was inconsequential and of no value to them. Regression analysis showed that the two key household factors influencing the monetization of the swamp were level of household income and gender. Higher level of household income was found to raise the value of the sv,ramp while the male beneficiaries had a higher WTP for the conservation of the swamp. This finding appeared to emphasize the fact that environmental conservation cannot be easily realized under the state of poverty