An exploratory economic analysis of the effects of regulation, hunter participation and harvest on migratory bird management Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/zc77sv36x

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  • Waterfowl and the places they inhabit provide numerous economic benefits to society. The financial and other resources provided by waterfowl hunters to secure and protect waterfowl habitat are a major force for wetland protection, as guided under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. However, the habitat and population objectives established under NAWMP to produce and protect a continentally viable waterfowl population have failed to be achieved while solutions are becoming increasingly expensive. Both improved biological and economic information is important for meeting NAWMP goals. Since hunters are expected to continue to pay for much of NAWMP, a better understanding of the factors influential to waterfowl hunter participation, and what control waterfowl managers have is needed to maintain and increase conservation revenue for investments in future waterfowl populations and continental wetland health. Previous attempts to measure hunter demand preferences have been either qualitative, static, or localized to a small geographic region. This thesis addresses some of these limitations by estimating the impacts of regulatory and socioeconomic conditions on waterfowl hunter demand over the period 1962 to 2002 at the flyway geographical scale, while still allowing for differences in behavior at the state level. Managers are constrained in their suite of regulations as they must follow recommendations from the Adaptive Harvest Management (AHM) council to maintain waterfowl populations. Biologically-based AHM studies have recognized, either implicitly or explicitly, the importance of capturing hunter participation trends in harvest estimation, but have had issues with the multicollinearity between annual regulations and hunter numbers. In this thesis, a system of equations with a feedback mechanism between regulations, hunter participation and harvest is developed to satisfy the endogenous nature of the manager's problem. Variables for hunter demand include the price of a Duck Stamp, gasoline prices, income, a time trend, and annual regulations. Duck Stamp sales are estimated in panel form with the Time-Series Cross-Sectional covariance correction method. Estimated Duck Stamp sales, in addition to regulations and hunter effort, are used to estimate a harvest production function at the flyway scale. The findings of this thesis demonstrate the large effect managers have on hunter participation through their development and implementation of regulations. Season length is the most significant variable in explaining hunter participation in both flyways. A significant and negative time trend reaffirms the importance of understanding waterfowl hunter demand preferences, as a general downward trend in waterfowl hunting participation persists each year. Cross-equation elasticities reveal the potential impact exogenous economic conditions may have on harvest, with expected future gas prices reducing hunting and harvest from 2-10%. The statistical insignificance of the Duck Stamp price variable suggests hunters are inelastic to real price changes in stamp fees, and thus provides managers a potential means to increase conservation revenue without impacting hunter participation or harvest.
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