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Examination of Agricultural Land Conservation in the Alberta Capital Region, Canada Open Access


Other title
choice experiment
agricultural land conservation
nonmarket valuation
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Wang, Haoluan
Supervisor and department
Swallow, Brent (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Examining committee member and department
Boxall, Peter (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Adamowicz, Vic (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Qiu, Feng (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology
Agricultural and Resource Economics
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
The Alberta Capital Region is experiencing rapid population growth, economic development, and conversion of agricultural land into alternative land uses. As a result, some of the province’s most productive agricultural land has been converted. However, little is known about what values are being gained and lost as a result of agricultural land conversion. This three-part thesis seeks to examine the agricultural land conservation in the study area. Using remote sensing data, the first part assesses the extent of land use and land cover changes in the Alberta Capital Region from 2000 and 2012, with a focus on agricultural land conversion. To provide the context of the implementation of agricultural land conservation programs, associated land use policies and land management tools are also reviewed. The second part involves a choice experiment survey that was developed to estimate the nonmarket values (i.e., willingness to pay) for agricultural land conservation in the region. Data were collected through a rigorous design procedure that included expert and public focus groups, pre-tests, pilot study, and full launch. Several model specifications were adopted to allow for heterogeneity, and benefit estimates were calculated accordingly. The third part of this thesis presents an analysis of the optimal use of financial resources for agricultural land conservation, using nonmarket benefits and market costs in the Alberta Capital Region. The performance and efficiency of four targeting tools that have been widely used for various conservation programs are compared. Applications are to both urban and rural settings in the Alberta Capital Region. Results from this section provided empirical support for future policymaking regarding agricultural land conservation.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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