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### Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify the values Saskatchewan residents place on their Woodland Caribou conservation programs. Using contingent valuation methods, individual values for maintaining caribou numbers within Millar Western-NorSask Forest Management Licence agreement area were estimated. Using these value estimates, societal benefits were estimated for the implementation of a woodland caribou maintenance program within the forest licence agreement area. The data used in this study were collected using a mailout survey to Saskatchewan residents. Two contingent valuation formats were used, the opened ended willingness to pay and the dichotomous choice. A number of question structures were employed in order to judge the sensitivity of the valuation to the design. In all, 9 different versions of the contingent valuation question were used in a randomized design strategy. The resulting welfare measures for the implementation of the caribou maintenance program were somewhat variable. The open ended format produced the lowest estimates, while the dichotomous choice estimates were higher and showed a higher degree of variability. This variability may be due to the presence of the ordering or whole-part effects. The values elicited for the conservation program using the open ended approach average approximately $15.00 per person per year. These values, when aggregated over the provincial population, result in an annual benefit of the woodland caribou conservation program of about$10M. These are the most conservative of the estimates, suggesting that woodland caribou conservation is very important to Saskatchewan residents.