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The Codru Quest: The Codru Quest: Phase I Results Your Choice Moldovan Environmental Governance Academy

Survey on the value of benefits from the Codru Nature Reserve, forest, andStudy biodiversity on the value thereofinbenefits relationfrom to their the Codru protection Natureand Reserve, expansion. forest, and

biodiversity there in relation to their protection and expansion. Second edition.

Contact: hello@megageneration.com 18.11.2016


Dear Friend, We are researchers from the Moldovan Environmental Governance Academy (MEGA; www.megageneration.com). In this document we present you the first raw data on the first phase of the economic valuation study called “The Codru Quest� that was done in November – December 2016. This is the second edition that includes data from a sample of 100 respondents. The aim of the study is to estimate and present the economic value of ecosystem services and biodiversity in the Codru Nature Reserve and the Codru forest situated in the Republic of Moldova. It is also designed to test the use of gamification and IT tools conducting economic valuation surveys and propose a solution on how to increase the response and completion rates, as well as the quality of data obtained from such surveys. The economic valuation method chosen for the Codru Quest is the choice modeling survey and analysis, as it allows determining the value of each component of the targeted ecosystem and biodiversity in the Codru forest. The first 100 respondents were presented with a set of questions / choice sets each asking to select the preferred scenario and associated monetary value choice among the three shown. The choices represented the business-as-usual state of the Codru ecosystem and two alternative ones with certain elements changed. A respondent observed the changes and monetary value choices associated with them and then selected the preferred one in all choice sets. After all the responses from the first respondents had been gathered, they were analyzed and organized into the present document. The results of the first phase of the study do not include the concrete Willingness-to-Pay (WTP) estimations for preserving the Codru forest with its specific ecosystem services and symbolic species. This comes later after a thorough analysis. For now we just present you the basic information on how people use and appreciate the forests in Moldova and which scenarios of development of the Codru Nature Reserve and the Codru forest they prefer. Stay tuned for more data and results on the Codru Quest from our side in the nearest future.

Yours Truly, The MEGA Team

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Contents Respondents’ Profiles ................................................................................................................. 5 Age ..................................................................................................................................................... 5 Sex...................................................................................................................................................... 5 Social Status ..................................................................................................................................... 5 Residence.......................................................................................................................................... 5 Education ........................................................................................................................................... 6 Occupation ........................................................................................................................................ 6 Affiliation ............................................................................................................................................ 6 Attitude towards Environment ............................................................................................... 7 Interest in Nature and Environment Protection............................................................................ 7 Attitude towards Nature Reserves in Moldova ............................................................................ 7 Attitude towards Nature in General ............................................................................................... 8 Use of Forest Ecosystem .......................................................................................................... 9 Importance of Elements of Forest Ecosystem and Infrastructure............................................. 9 Visits to Forest Ecosystem ........................................................................................................... 10 Access to Forest Ecosystem ........................................................................................................ 11 Valuation Scenarios and Choice Sets .............................................................................. 12 Choice Set #1 ................................................................................................................................. 12 Choice Set #2 ................................................................................................................................. 13 Choice Set #3 ................................................................................................................................. 14 Choice Set #4 ................................................................................................................................. 14 Choice Set #5 ................................................................................................................................. 15

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Choice Set #6 ................................................................................................................................. 15 Respondents’ Reasoning and Motives ............................................................................. 17 Payment for Ecosystem Services ................................................................................................ 17 Payment Vehicle............................................................................................................................. 17 Influence of Attributes .................................................................................................................... 18 Zero Valuations............................................................................................................................... 19 Respondents’ Feedback and Suggestions ..................................................................... 21

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Respondents’ Profiles The first phase of the Codru Quest study was done entirely on-line and engaged 100 respondents. Among them 67 provided their responses via the Romanian version of the survey and 33 – via the English version. Summary of answers to the question "Are you male or female?"

Age Most of the respondents within the first phase of the study were of the age 21 – 33 years old. There were just several

41%

outliers: the youngest 4 respondents were of the age 19, while the oldest respondent

Male 59%

Female

was 49 years old. Gender The representation of both genders in the sample is almost equal. Still, the slight

Summary of answers to the question "What is your marital status?"

majority (59) of them were female. Page | 5

4% 5%

Social Status

Not married

11%

The respondents were mainly young

Married

people, who are neither married nor Living in a relationship

living in a relationship. Only 11 among

Other

all 100 respondents were married.

80%

Residence The majority (81) of the respondents resided in the city, mainly the capital of Moldova, respondents

Chisinau. came

12 from

of a

Summary of answers to the question "Where do you live?"

the rural

environment. And 7 of them lived on the

12% In a city

7%

outskirts of the city. This indicates that most of the respondents have limited

On the outskirts of a city

connection to the Codru forest situated

In a village

outside Chisinau, about 50 km from it.

81%


Education In terms of education, the majority (60) of the

respondents

had

Summary of answers to the question "What is your highest education level?"

university 2%

education, either Bachelor or Master.

Primary school

4%

21%

Still, there is a significant number of people, who had just started university or

34%

hadn’t even entered higher education yet.

Secondary school University, Bachelor University, Master

Occupation

39%

The occupation of the respondents was

Other

quite diverse. Among them one could find pupils / students, freelancers, and salaried

workers.

However,

Summary of answers to the question "What is your main occupation?"

the

dominant majority (53) of the respondents Not working

belonged to the category of pupils or students. Such distribution indicates that

5%

13%

6%

Working at home / freelancer Pupil / student

personal income might not be the best option to compare WTP data to and check its validity. Instead, household income

23%

Page | 6 Salaried worker

should be a better indicator for the respondent’s ability to pay for the good.

53% Other

Affiliation For the first phase we reached the respondents mainly from our personal contacts

and

organization.

the

network

Therefore,

a

of

our

significant

Summary of answers to the question "Are you a member / activist / volunteer in an environmental organization?"

number (38) of them came from certain environmental

non-governmental

0%

organizations (NGOs). However, the 38%

dominant share (62) of respondents did

No

not have this affiliation, and therefore should not be biased in placing value on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Yes

62%

Don't know


Attitude towards Environment Attitudinal questions included in the Codru Quest survey were designed to understand the attitude of each respondent to general issues concerning the targeted ecosystem services, and then these ecosystem services in particular. In our case the questions were focused on the attitude towards nature and biodiversity, environment protection in general, and existence and development of nature reserves in Moldova. Interest in Nature and Environment Protection The

dominant

majority

(69)

of

the

respondents stated their strong interest in nature and environment protection. 29 people indicated a medium level of

Summary of answers to the question "How would you characterize your own interest in nature and environment protection in general?"

interest. This is an expected result, as

1%

most of the respondents came from the

1% 29%

Small

community of young activists that we

Medium

approached

Large

for

the

first

data

and

feedback on the survey. But this also

Don't know 69%

indicates that the responses are biased towards concern for the environment and should be treated with attention. Attitude towards Nature Reserves in Moldova Judging by the respondents’ answers, the vast majority of them support the existence of natural reserves in Moldova, their further expansion, as well as the establishment of new protected areas with forests in the country. Only 2 – 7 people express negative attitude towards all these statements. However, here one should take into consideration that most of the respondents show much interest in nature and environment protection, as well as that a significant number of them comes from environmental organizations. It means that they might express strategic behaviour of supporting environment-oriented initiatives, such as establishment and development of protected areas. In order to get more representative and relevant data on this topic, more respondents not related to environment protection field should be surveyed.

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Summary of answers to the question "What is your attitude towards:"

70

62

Very positive

56

60 50

Positive

50 38

40

Neutral 27

30 20 5

10

11

7

Very negative

11 5

0

Negative

25

0

1

2

0

0

0

Don't know

0 Existing Nature Reserves with forests in Moldova?

Expansion of existing Nature Establishment of new Nature Reserves and forests in Reserves with forests in Moldova? Moldova?

Attitude towards Nature in General Talking about the general attitude towards nature expressed by the respondents, the phase I results show that almost all of them are aware that nature in Moldova is threatened by anthropogenic activities. All the respondents agree on the importance of the diversity of plants and animals for the Moldovan nature, as well as on the bequest value of it, meaning that the nature should be preserved for future generations. Their views differ only on whether the nature should meet people’s needs and demand for outdoor recreation, as well as whether the nature should be considered as a top priority above anything else. Summary of answers to the question "Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?"

90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

85

Strongly agree

65 56

Agree

40

37 33

35

4

4644

18 10 0 0 0

Nature in Moldova is threatened by human activity

0 0 0 0 Nature in Moldova must have diversity of plants and animals

Neither agree nor disagree

15 0 2

Nature in Moldova must meet people's demand for outdoor recreation

0 0 0 0

7

2 0 1

Nature in Concerns for Moldova must nature should be preserved for always be future prioritized above generations all others - no matter the cost

Disagree Strongly disagree Don't know

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Use of Forest Ecosystem The Codru Quest survey included also a number of questions on the use of the targeted environmental good, specifically forest ecosystem. Their aim was to determine what use a respondent makes of the good in question in order to test his/her familiarity with it and to distinguish users from non-users. With such questions we were able to assess whether our respondents are indeed familiar with forests and make use of their ecosystem services on a regular basis, periodically, occasionally, or practically not at all. Such information influenced the assessment of their answers to further questions regarding choice sets and scenarios. Importance of Elements of Forest Ecosystem and Infrastructure According to the phase I results, the majority of respondents values a lot all elements of ecosystem and infrastructure of a forest. Mostly they prefer a pristine forest, but accept a certain share of it to be artificially planted and managed. This preferred forest should definitely have a large diversity of plant species and ideally be rich in insect biodiversity as well. Endangered species, such as small-flowered black hawthorn and stag beetle were preferred to be present, but not all respondents knew about them and their endangered status. Artificial infrastructure and services, such as trails, guided tours, and museum of nature were not appreciated as high as pristine forest with large biodiversity of plants. Summary of answers to the question "How important are the following elements of a forest for your pleasant experience in it?" 90 79

77

80

Not important

70 58

58 44

30 9

5

9 3

3

7

7

Presence of smallflowered black hawthorn

0

3

15 8

Large diversity of plant species

10

12

Pristine unmanaged forest

20

28 21

Somewhat important

43

40 26

56

53

28

32

29

27

Very important

20 9

7

10 3

8

8

9 Don't know

Availability of a museum of nature

46 40

50

Trails and infrastructure for recreation

60

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Visits to Forest Ecosystem The respondents had good interaction with forests and seem to be familiar with the forest environment. This is what their

Summary of answers to the question "How often have you visited the forest this year?"

answers show. The

respondents

claimed

that

0 times

the

majority of them visited forest more than

2% 6%

1-5 times

17%

once throughout the year. Only 6 people 6-10 times

had not been to a forest during the year in question. The

average

time

spent

by

the

49%

26%

More than 10 times Don't know

respondents in a forest was about 1 – 5 hours. During the last visit 9 people were staying less than 1 hour in a forest, while 13 had experienced it for more than 5 hours. While being in a forest, the respondents

Summary of answers to the question "How much time did you spend on your last visit to the forest?"

engaged mainly in such recreational Less than 1 hour

activities as having a walk, taking photos, and enjoying nature and silence. A good

13%

2%

9%

1-2 hours

number of them went for a run and 3-5 hours

organized picnics in a forest. There are 39%

also significant shares of people, who attended a guided tour through the forest

37%

More than 5 hours Don't know

and explored and studied the nature around – these are likely to be the participants

of

the

MEGA

Impact

Championship, who participated in an excursion to the Codru Nature Reserve and the Codru forest with a guide and practical research-and-conservation related tasks to do.

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Summary of answers to the question "What activities did you do the last time you visited the forest?" 6

Other

1

Don't know

33

Organized picnic

60

Enjoyed silence

5

Collected insects

17

Watched animals

37

Studied nature

24

Picked berries / mushrooms / flowers / seeds, etc.

64

Took photos

14

Visited a museum of nature

26

Attended a guided tour

28

Went for a run

88

Went for a walk

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

100

Access to Forest Ecosystem The availability of a forest ecosystem near the residence of the respondents varies. Some live quite close to a forest (1 – 5

Summary of answers to the question "How far do you live from the forest?"

km), while others reside quite far from it

Less than 1 km

(more than 10 km). There were also 19

3%

people, who answered that they live very close, less than 1 km from a forest.

19%

33%

1-5 km 6-10 km

However, in spite of such variety of More than 10 km

distance to a forest, the respondents’ answers to the questions of this section

9%

36%

Don't know

suggest that the majority of them are more or less active users of a forest ecosystem and its services and know what they want to see and experience in a forest. So, their choices of scenarios and Willingness-to-Pay (WTP) data they provided in further questions can be largely relied upon.

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Valuation Scenarios and Choice Sets The valuation scenarios and choice sets were the core of the Codru Quest survey. The valuation scenarios presented the respondents with the detailed description of the good to be evaluated and possible semi-fictitious changes in the provision of that good. There were three scenarios for the respondents to choose from in each of the six choice sets: business-as-usual / status quo scenario with no changes from the current state of the Codru Nature Reserve and biodiversity in it, and the other two with certain changes in their elements / attributes. A total of five attributes for each scenario and choice set were chosen: 1. Total territory of the Codru Nature Reserve (specifically the strictly protected and the buffer zones); 2. Number of species of plants conserved; 3. Number of species of insects conserved; 4. Presence of symbolic species: small-flowered black hawthorn and stag beetle; 5. Payment vehicle: price to visit the Codru Nature Reserve and forest. The approach used for designing and presenting these alternatives, scenarios, and choice sets, and for the respondents to make their choices was selected to be the choice experiments. Here the respondents were analyzing different levels of alternatives in each choice set, and choosing the scenario with the most desirable levels of attributes and the price among the two ones with changes and the status quo. The summary of the respondents’ answers below does not include calculation of Willingness-to-Pay (WTP). This will be done in the second phase of the Codru Quest study.

Choice Set #1 In the first choice set the majority of the respondents chose Scenario 1 with the largest extension of the Codru Nature Reserve territory (5425 ha), largest biodiversity of plants (1100 species), medium biodiversity of insects (1220 species), abundant presence of hawthorn and stag beetle, and 90 – 110 MDL entrance fee. The confidence in the choices was rather high: 63 respondents were certain or very certain in their choice.

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Summary of answers to the question "Which of the following 3 scenarios of development of the Codru forest and the Codru Nature Reserve would you prefer?" 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

59 Scenario 0 Scenario 1

23

18 Scenario 2

Choice Set #1

Choice Set #2 In the second choice set the respondents’ answers were mostly in favour of Scenario 1. However, the number of preferences for Scenario 2 was also very high. Both scenarios had the largest extension of the Codru Nature Reserve territory (5425 ha) and abundant presence of hawthorn and stag beetle. Scenario 1 included medium levels of plant biodiversity (1050 species) and insect biodiversity (1220 species) and 30 – 50 MDL entrance fee. Scenario 2 had highest levels of both plant (1100 species) and insect (1260 species) biodiversity and 90 – 110 MDL entrance fee. The confidence in the choices was very high: 74 respondents were certain or very certain in their choice. Summary of answers to the question "Which of the following 3 scenarios of development of the Codru forest and the Codru Nature Reserve would you prefer?" 46

50

41

40 30 20

Scenario 0 Scenario 1

13 Scenario 2

10 0 Choice Set #2

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Choice Set #3 In the third choice set the majority of the respondents chose Scenario 1 with medium extension of the Codru Nature Reserve territory (5300 ha) and 90 – 110 MDL entrance fee. The other levels of attributes were equal in Scenario 1 and Scenario 2. The confidence in the choices was reasonably high: 58 respondents were certain or very certain in their choice. Summary of answers to the question "Which of the following 3 scenarios of development of the Codru forest and the Codru Nature Reserve would you prefer?" 55

60

Scenario 0

50 40

28

30 20

Scenario 1

17 Scenario 2

10 0 Choice Set #3

Choice Set #4 In the fourth choice set the majority of the respondents chose Scenario 1 with the highest insect biodiversity (1260 species), but medium presence of hawthorn and stag beetle, and 30 – 50 MDL entrance fee. The other levels of attributes were equal in Scenario 1 and Scenario 2. The confidence in the choices was very high: 75 respondents were certain or very certain in their choice.

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Summary of answers to the question "Which of the following 3 scenarios of development of the Codru forest and the Codru Nature Reserve would you prefer?" 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

59 Scenario 0 31 10

Scenario 1 Scenario 2

Choice Set #4

Choice Set #5 In the fifth choice set the majority of the respondents chose Scenario 2 with the medium extension of the Codru Nature Reserve territory (5300 ha), largest biodiversity of insects (1260 species), abundant presence of hawthorn and stag beetle, and 60 – 80 MDL entrance fee. The levels of plant biodiversity were equal in Scenario 1 and Scenario 2. The confidence in the choices was quite high: 67 respondents were certain or very certain in their choice. Summary of answers to the question "Which of the following 3 scenarios of development of the Codru forest and the Codru Nature Reserve would you prefer?" 60

49

50 33

40 30 20

Scenario 0 Scenario 1

18 Scenario 2

10 0 Choice Set #5

Choice Set #6 In the sixth and final choice set the majority of the respondents chose Scenario 1 with the largest extension of the Codru Nature Reserve territory (5425 ha), medium plant biodiversity

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(1050 species), highest insect biodiversity (1260 species), and 60 – 80 MDL entrance fee. The levels of presence of hawthorn and stag beetle were equal in Scenario 1 and Scenario 2. The confidence in the choices was reasonably high: 67 respondents were certain or very certain in their choice. Summary of answers to the question "Which of the following 3 scenarios of development of the Codru forest and the Codru Nature Reserve would you prefer?" 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

60 Scenario 0 27

Scenario 1

13 Scenario 2

Choice Set #6

These are just summaries of the raw data from choice sets that are valuable for further study, but still tell little regarding the WTP and economic value of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the Codru Nature Reserve and the Codru forest. These data still needs to be supplied with more responses from larger representative sample of respondents, then used to estimate WTP values, analyzed, and finally presented in a clear and easily understandable way. All this is going to be done in the second and third phases of the Codru Quest study in 2017.

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Respondents’ Reasoning and Motives In the Codru Quest the choice sets were followed by the questions on reasoning and motives behind the respondents’ choices of scenarios. These questions serve the purpose to identify possible protests or unwillingness to pay for the targeted environmental good, such as improved ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services in the Codru Nature Reserve and the Codru forest. In the further analysis of WTP data obtained from the survey these protests are going to be separated from valid zero bids and other valid responses. In addition to that, the reasoning questions provide some insights on the credibility of the valuation scenarios, relevance of the payment vehicle selected, perceived credibility of the Codru Nature Reserve as the institution providing the targeted good, etc. Payment for Ecosystem Services Judging by the respondents’ answers, the

Summary of answers to the question "Do you think we should pay for these benefits that the forest gives us, just like we pay for other services?"

majority of them (53) find the valuation scenario credible and the approach of

25% Yes

paying for ecosystem services the Codru forest provides appropriate.

53%

No

There are also 22 respondents, who disagree with monetizing ecosystems and environment,

and

25,

who

Don't know 22%

haven’t

decided on their stance in this regard. Payment Vehicle If instead of a visitor fee selected for the Codru Quest survey as a payment vehicle

there would

Summary of answers to the question "Do you think your willingness to pay would have been less, if instead of paying a visitor price you had been asked to pay an increased local tax?"

have been an 19%

increased local tax, this would have influenced

WTP

expressed

by

29%

the

Yes, somewhat less No

respondents in the choice sets. However, the change in WTP would likely not be very significant and therefore it is not worth changing the payment vehicle.

Yes, a lot

22%

30%

Don't know

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Influence of Attributes

Summary of answers to the question "Did you make your choices of scenarios on the basis of all 5 characteristics?"

While deciding on the scenarios and WTP values in the choice sets, the majority

of

respondents

attributes

of

consideration.

took

scenarios Still,

38

all

4%

into Yes

respondents 38%

preferred to focus on the characteristic,

No 58%

which they considered to be the most

Don't know

important one. With regard to the importance of specific attributes,

the

respondents’

answers

indicate that the number of plants and insects conserved represented the most important decision-making factors. The territory of the Codru Nature Reserve and the entrance fee to visit it were also comparatively strong factors that affected the choices of scenarios. The presence of endangered symbolic species, hawthorn and stag beetle, did not receive high significance among most of the respondents. Summary of answers to the question "To what extent did the specific characteristics influence you choices between the alternative scenarios?"

Page | 18 60 49

50

None

42

39

36

35

40 30

10

35

36 35

31

22

18

20

41 Little 24

22

Some

13 3

2

1

1

3

1

2

4

4

1 Very much

0 Total territory of Number of the Codru species of plants Nature Reserve conserved

Number of species of insects conserved

Presence of symbolic species: hawthorn and stag beetle

Price to visit the Codru Nature Reserve and forest

Don't know

The respondents also indicated that their scenario choices were based largely on such considerations, as scenario’s influence on flora and fauna in the Codru forest and the well-being of communities living near it. Recreational opportunities in the forest and its use by the respondents themselves were not considered as very important for decisions on choosing the scenarios by a good number of them.


Summary of answers to the question "To what extent were your choices between the alternative scenarios based on the following considerations?" 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0

47

44 36

34

None

38

37 29 23

23

Little

25

22

15

Some

4

1

7

6

4

2

2

1

Scenario's influence Scenario's influence Scenario's influence Scenario's influence on plants and on the recreational on the well-being of on my personal use animals in the Codru opportunities in the communities living of the Codru forest forest Codru forest near the Codru forest

Very much

Don't know

Zero Valuations Among all the respondents 17 of them selected Scenario 0 that represented business-as-usual / status quo case with

Summary of answers to the question "Did you choose the "Scenario 0" in all the questions?"

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no or very little WTP value. This might mean that the majority of respondents

17%

would like to see improvements in the supply,

quality,

ecosystem

and

services,

protection

of

as

as

well

No

Yes

conservation of biodiversity in the Codru Nature Reserve and the Codru forest.

83%

In relation to zero bids, the respondents, who had chosen them, motivated their choices that mainly the other scenarios were too expensive for such a cause, as well as that someone else (the Ministry of Environment / the Codru Nature Reserve administration / the Government) should finance the development described in other scenarios. Among these and other motives, only the ones related to expensive entrance fees, inability to pay them, and presence of another forest with similar ecosystem services near respondent’s location can be considered valid zero bids. The others, such as shifting the responsibility of payment to someone else and difficulty of answering the questions, are likely to be protest bids.


Summary of answers to the question "If yes, why?"

4

Other

5

Don't know

3

The questions were too difficult for me to answer The Ministry of Environment / the Codru Nature Reserve administration / the Government should finance this development, not citizens

11 5

I have another forest nearby that I visit

2

I am not interested in the Codru Nature Reserve and forest

1

Nature and forests are not a priority for me

3

I already pay enough when I visit the Codru Nature Reserve and forest

7

I cannot afford to pay such large sums, as were given in other scenarios

10

The other scenarios were too expensive for such cause

0

2

4

6

8

10

12

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Respondents’ Feedback and Suggestions Finally, besides testing the survey and obtaining the first economic valuation data, the first phase of the Codru Quest study had an objective to receive feedback and suggestions for survey design improvement. This information will be used in the second phase for redesigning the structure and design of the survey, as well as for introducing gamification elements and mechanics into it to increase the response and completion rates and the quality of data obtained.

The respondents were largely happy to contribute to the Codru Quest study and many of them appreciated the design and content of the survey. However, they also pointed out to certain gaps and suggested ways to close them and improve the overall structure and content of the survey. The expressed opinions and suggested improvements include:  Overall the survey is good, well-thought, and nicely elaborated.  The use of images in the questions, especially in choice sets, is well received and appreciated as being a very useful visual support.  The survey is too long with too many questions. In such way it becomes boring to fill it in till the end, and respondents might not take it seriously and provide qualitative responses. A suggestion here is to reformulate the questions differently, so that it would be more motivating and engaging for people to complete them.  The text describing the case and valuation scenarios is especially too long. A suggestion here is to shorten it and / or to replace / supply it with representative images.  The choice sets and scenarios within them were not understood by several respondents. This might cause the abandoning of the survey or providing random answers without thinking about them. A suggestion here is to customize the survey and make it more interactive in such way, that a respondent firstly selects the most important attributes for him / her, and then, on the basis of this selection, the respondent receives only three options to choose from.  There is certain doubt that the calibration of preferences / scenarios works, as well as the risk that most people will have contradictory answers due to forgetting to calculate their WTP as relative measure of income. A suggestion here is to consult a behavioral economist and design scenarios and choice sets under his / her guidance.

Page | 21


 The focus on certain species of plants and insects is too narrow. A suggestion here is to introduce the problem of reduced biodiversity and protection of more animal species.  The choice of entrance fee as a payment vehicle might not be the best one, as many Moldovan residents don’t reach the Codru Nature Reserve and the Codru forest. So, they are unlikely to pay the fee, and their WTP can be not entirely realistic. However, using tax as a payment vehicle might not produce reliable WTP data as well, as people would doubt whether such a tax would be used according to its purpose and not end up in the corrupt officials’ pockets. There is also a belief that no matter what payment vehicle is used, it will not produce any positive change described in the scenarios, as the Codru forest management agency is corrupt as well. A suggestion here is to have a discussion / consultation with a number of current and potential respondents on the proper payment vehicle to be used in such a survey.  The sums of entrance fee in scenarios were considered rather high for some respondents. There are also large gaps between the values of different scenario fees. A suggestion here is to adjust them according to the average wages in the country and people’s feedback.  The questions about personal and household income should not be set as required, as they request confidential information that a respondent might not be willing to disclose.  The question about membership / activism / volunteering in an environmental organization can be moved to the end of the survey, specifically to the part about respondent’s profile and background.  Certain questions did not offer the respondents to present arguments / express their opinion / share ideas, etc. A suggestion here is to add fields for respondent’s comments for such questions.  A suggestion is that the survey can be also used to collect opinions and ideas of respondents on how the management and conservation activities in the nature reserves and/or forests can be improved. For this purpose the respective open-ended question(-s) can be introduced.  In addition, the survey can serve as a tool to collect people’s opinions regarding equality and equity, social inclusion, and policy-making within the topic of forest ecosystems and protected areas. Such information can then be used to prepare proposals for environmental projects. A suggestion here is to include additional questions asking respondents’ opinions on such aspects of environment protection and management.

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 The Romanian version of the survey should be reviewed, as it contains a number of grammar mistakes.  A suggestion also for the Romanian version of the survey is to use the name of the protected area the Codru Nature Reserve as it is stated in the legislative acts (specifically, the Law #1538 of the Republic of Moldova about state protected areas): “Rezervaţia Ştiinţifică Codru”.  There is hope among the respondents that the hypothetical improvements described in the scenarios become real and that the Codru Quest study finalizes with valuable results also in practice.

The feedback and suggestions listed above will be supplied with contributions from more respondents, then thoroughly analyzed and transformed into inputs for survey development during the second phase of the Codru Quest study. These inputs will be experimented with and implemented into the survey design and method of delivering the survey to respondents, as well as with obtaining their answers and WTP data. Finally the answers and data will be analyzed, and the results of the analysis will be published in a research article and presented publicly during the third and final phase of the Codru Quest study in 2017. Page | 23


Dear Friend,

We, the researchers of MEGA, express our gratitude to everyone, who has already contributed to the Codru Quest study and provided their valuable answers and useful feedback.

If you would like to get in touch with us, learn more about the study, and take part in it, please visit our website www.megageneration.com, send us a message to hello@megageneration.com, or follow us at www.facebook.com/mega.md.

We wish you MEGA great success and healthy environment around you!

Yours Truly, The MEGA Team

MEGA, 2016. The Codru Quest: Phase I Results. Second edition. Prepared by: Alexandr Iscenco

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Playing for Impact

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The Codru Quest: Phase I Results. Second edition  

Summary of raw Willingness-to-Pay (WTP) data and feedback collected from a sample of 100 respondents throughout the first phase of the study...

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