Improving the conservation status of remnant native vegetation on private property (RNV) has a number of economic benefits. RNV can contribute to on-farm productivity through provision of unimproved grazing, timber products and stock shelter. It may contribute to enhancing the productivity of downstream properties though amelioration of land degradation associated with salinity, water quality decline and soil erosion. The Australian community might also place value on certain attributes of RNV such as its scenic amenity and contribution to biodiversity conservation. Where these community values can be expressed in terms of trade-offs between RNV conservation and other things of value such as personal disposable income, they can be assessed using economic methods. It is these community values which are the subject of this paper. Economic values held by the community for RNV conservation are nonmarket in nature. Since they are not revealed directly in the market place, and cannot be indirectly recovered though surrogate market techniques, they can only be assessed using stated preference methods. The most widely research stated preference method is contingent valuation (CV). Concerns about the validity of CV data have limited their use in environmental policy development, especially in Australia. The relatively new technique of choice modelling (CM) may offer a means of addressing such concerns. In addition, CM can enable more detailed exploration of participants’ preferences across different quantities and qualities of the good being valued. We used both CV and CM to assess the nonmarket economic values of RNV in two study areas - northeast Victoria and the southern Riverina of NSW. Results from the two methods were not significantly different, providing evidence of convergent validity. However, the CM models have the advantage that they can be adjusted to take into account different policy options, and the associated welfare estimates also have narrower confidence intervals than those derived from CV models. Using the best CM model, aggregate compensating surpluses for improved conservation management of RNV in the southern Riverina of NSW and northeast Victoria were estimated to be $81 million and $59 million respectively.


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