Economic Valuation of Forest Conservation by Villagers in Ibadan Oyo State Nigeria

Economic valuation of forest conservation by villagers living at the perimeter fence of International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria was undertaken to describe socio-economic characteristics of the respondents, determine the total value of forest conservation using willingness to pay approach and assess the determinants of socio-economic characteristics of the respondents to their willingness to pay (WTP) for forest conservation.  Multi stage sampling technique was adopted for the study, four hundred and eight respondents comprising of farmers, hunters, herbalists and herb sellers were randomly selected and interviewed using copies of well-structured questionnaires. Descriptive statistics and Logistic regression model was used to analysed the data collected. The results showed that farmers and hunters had average age of 55 and 57 years while herb sellers and herbalists had average age of 43 and 63 years respectively. Majority of the respondents pooled together are male, married, having average age of 55 years and household size of 7 members. The highest percentage of them are closer to the forest by 1-3 km, native of the study area, not educated and not employed but had monthly income of 12,000-20,000 naira (US$33.38 to US$55.63). The mean willingness to pay for forest conservation was N114.38 (US$0.32) per month per household and the total value of forest was N3, 461,024.42 (US$9, 627.32) per month. The study further revealed that WTP was significantly impacted by several factors such as sex, educational level, occupation, income and bid amounts. The study therefore recommends that monetary value should be placed on the social, cultural, ecological and economic services generated by the forests for the forests to continue to provide goods and services on a sustainable basis. Also, the willingness to pay for forest conservation can be used as an alternative measure of displeasure against the conversion of the forests to other uses and as a supportive argument for the invaluable roles the forests play in sustaining the livelihood of the people. The estimated WTP values can be used in cost-benefit assessments of forest ecosystem protection programs in the study area.

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