The economic importance of the dryland ecosystem services in the Kgalagadi area is generally unknown, as is the distribution of benefits from use of the ecosystem services. This study seeks to value ecosystem services in the Kgalagadi area by applying the choice experiment technique and then assessing the potential for ecosystem services to contribute to the Khomani San livelihoods through a payment for ecosystem services (PES) scheme.
Instead of finding the value of the whole ecosystem, this study seeks to value selected ecosystem services from the point of view of visitors. The values placed on dryland ecosystem services by tourists are estimated using a conditional logit model, random parameter logit model, and a random parameter logit model with interactions. The park visitors prefer more pristine recreational opportunities and increased chances of seeing predators, but they disapprove of granting more access inside the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park to local communities. The visitors have a higher marginal willingness to pay (MWTP) for the services that they want than the MWTP of the locals to engage in the competing activities. This scenario shows that it is possible to craft a PES scheme where park visitors could compensate the local communities for accepting restrictions on resource use in the Kgalagadi area. Those who value the services more can pay those who value the services less to refrain from activities that degrade the ecosystem.
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