The growing concern over environmental degradation has heightened the role of environmental economics and the valuation of natural resources as analytical tools that facilitate policy design for sustainable management. Research of the past four decades, however, has not provided reliable methods for measuring the economic value of most nonmarketable environmental assets involved in damage claims and allocation decisions. In this study, rather than relying on current valuation practices to guide resource allocation policies and to determine compensation awards, a ‘damage schedule approach’ is proposed as an alternative. Damage schedules are constructed based on scales of relative importance obtained from people’s judgements about values of various resource losses and activities causing losses. It is a non-monetary valuation approach as people are asked to indicate their preferences and values about the resources without any reference to monetary values. The scales of relative importance are derived from the responses of people to series of paired comparison questions. People are simply asked to choose one item in each pair that they consider more important. The damage schedules, developed based on these importance scales, reflect community values which should be considered in the natural resources management and policymaking. This study is an empirical test of the possibility of developing meaningful scales of relative importance that could be used to construct the damage schedules. The study aims at investigating people’s ability in providing consistent judgements about the importance of resource losses and activities in consideration. The resulting scales of relative importance are then examined for their usefulness in providing a basis for the development of the damage schedules.
Damage Schedules for Thai Coastal Areas: An Alternative Approach to Assessing Environmental Values