Vol.3, No.5, 343-353 (2013) Open Journal of Ecology
Valuing ecological resources through st akeholder
George O. Rogers*, Eric K. Bardenhagen
Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center, College of Architecture, Texas
A&M University, College Station, USA; *Corresponding Author: grogers@tamu.edu
Received 31 May 2013; revised 5 July 2013; accepted 15 July 2013
Copyright © 2013 George O. Rogers, Eric K. Bardenhagen. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons
Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is
properly cited.
This paper presents a pilot effort to identify a
methodology to more efficiently codify, quantify
and illustrate the intrinsic values associated
with ecological resources as expressed by sta-
keholders. Existing methodologies examine the
value of ecological resources, but are often cri-
ticized for their monetary focus. These methods
generally produce quasi-market values for non-
market resources. The natural and cultural re-
sources associated with a national park are
analyzed in terms of the expressed values of ac-
tive stakeholders to quantitatively produce mul-
tiple dimensions of value for each resource re-
lative to all others. The resulting abstract and
graphical value-space quantitatively reflects sta-
keholder participation, reflects non-market in-
trinsic value, and proactively contributes to en-
vironmental management and decision making.
Keywords: Ecological Resource Valuation; Intrinsic
Values; Place-Based Valuation; Natural Resources;
Value-Space; Stake-Holder Participation
This paper presents a pilot effort to develop a method-
ology that quantitatively assesses a range of perceived
intrinsic values, those outside of monetary markets and
often variably described by individuals as related to the
very existence of a resource, associated with ecological
resources in a national park. Resources are placed rela-
tive to one another in an abstract graphic value-space of
multiple dimensions to express intrinsic values. Each
dimension is unique from all others and significantly
contributes to the overall value-space as described later.
Representation of these relative resource values can be
used throughout the span of decision processes and may
be employed prior to or alongside traditional monetary
measures of value. This approach:
is an important step in valuing ecological resources,
with their attendant qualities of including intrinsic
supports resource management decisions through an
empirical multi-dimensional approach to valuation;
complies with the constitutionally derived prohibition
of arbitrary and capricious government regulations
and actions as it is based on factual assessments of
reasonable and reliable evidence; and
supports executive decision-making by allowing the
intrinsic values of ecological resources to be more
effectively incorporated into these decisions.
A number of preference-based measures exist for valu-
ing ecological resources. Ciriacy-Wantrup [1] conceptua-
lized the maximum monetary value a person is willing to
pay (exchange, sacrifice or otherwise barter) for a public
good as one measure of value for non-market resources.
These measures rely on preferences (usually expressed in
response to a survey) for hypothetical outcome(s). Davis
[2] designed and implemented the first survey using
willingness-to-pay, correlating the results with the travel
cost method, and found results that were quite similar. In
spite of these early tests of reasonableness, reservations
were raised about using partial values to represent re-
sources, which encourages (or subsidizes) over-use of
scarce resources [3]. Contingent valuation measures
stemming from the willingness-to-pay concept have be-
come widely used in valuing environmental resources
and outcome(s). In spite of widespread use in the 1980’s,
a debate ensued between those who found these mea-
sures sufficiently valid to warrant requiring their use in
environmental regulation and those who opposed such
requirements because of the under-representation of non-
market values [4,5]. This paper accepts the idea that
monetary measures of ecological resources under-repre-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
G. O. Rogers, E. K. Bardenhagen / Open Journal of Ecology 3 (2013) 343-353
sent the value associated with these resources. The me-
thodology utilizes stakeholder input to assess the per-
ceived intrinsic values of ecological resources associated
with a particular place in multiple dimensions. The re-
sulting abstract graphic value-space represents the uni-
que contribution(s) of significant dimensions of value
relative to and independent of one another.
Meaningfully including the full range of values for
ecological resources, most of which are non-market, in
resource management decisions is one of the most vex-
ing problems facing resource managers, planners and
policy makers. Shafer and Brush [6] developed a model
of preference to quantify the value of natural landscapes
through statistical analysis of spatial data and observed
strong correlations with stated preferences for landscape
features. Carlson [7] challenged that quantification of
aesthetic beauty may not be possible or even reasonable.
If quantification is possible, it is unlikely to be easy or
straightforward. He notes that landscape assessments fail
to express overall quality adequately, but perform better
in capturing relationships between elements within a
landscape. This excludes some important drivers of aes-
thetic beauty such as public opinion preferences for for-
malism in photographs rather than more robustly under-
stood natural aesthetic beauty. Ribe [8] suggests that this
misconstrues the intentions and purpose of those who
seek to quantify the value of natural scenic beauty as a
pursuit of objectivity alone, rather than a more effective,
deep and considered exploration of the elements and
relationships of aesthetic beauty. He goes on to suggest
that multiple approaches enhance human awareness of
the function of environmental aesthetics [8]. By recog-
nizing that scenic beauty depends on human perception,
Gobster [9] suggests that the complexities associated
with dimensions such as symbolism, culture and natural
processes are inherently multi-dimensional. As individu-
als and members of a community, humans each hold their
own unique and complex relationships with surrounding
ecological resources. Surrounding landscapes are com-
plex, and when viewed holistically have unique identities
that blend the resources, both ecological and cultural
found therein [10].
Each interaction with a landscape, whether as a par-
ticipant in a landscape or as a policy maker affecting that
landscape, expresses an individual’s values associated
with that place and its resources. These resources can be
both highly valued, as well as, valued for a variety of
reasons. Measuring this perceived value, however, is
limited by the ways in which value can be associated
with the resources, few of which can readily incorporate
multiple dimensions. As a result, these measures often
arguably fail to incorporate significant portions of the
individual or shared community values people associate
with these resources in information that guides decision
processes affecting them [11-13]. This under-representa-
tion of value is most often the case when non-market
resources, those not easily priced or quantified for inclu-
sion in economic efficiency analyses, are considered
This leaves ecological resource managers and planners
in a quandary; how can they incorporate the non-market
intrinsic values into decisions processes in a meaningful
rational way? 1) Planning processes often support execu-
tive decision making with factual assessments, but what
gets assessed, how it is characterized, the analysis and
interpretation are all laden with values. This accountabil-
ity becomes even more difficult when the intrinsic values
associated with ecological resources are involved. Cre-
ating a value space on the basis of this place-based re-
source driven approach described herein empirically
quantifies these values, which allows them to be more
effectively incorporated into these decisions (e.g., com-
pared, analyzed, and related to expressed preference
valuations of these resources). 2) Congress and the
Council on Environmental Quality defined the National
Environmental Policy Act process to comply with the
constitutionally derived prohibition of arbitrary and ca-
pricious government regulations and actions. Resource
planners and managers cannot make value choices that
are not substantiated by reasonable and reliable evidence.
Thus, ecological resource managers often face the cha-
llenge of making complex resource management deci-
sions based on empirical non-arbitrary evidence. These
decisions become more difficult in light of the values
expressed by stakeholders that are intrinsic, non-market
based, and held with strong personal convictions. Yet
when resource management decisions are based on qual-
itative assessments alone they often seem to be arbitrary.
Conversely quantifying these issues are often undertaken
in a linear process [14-17]. This linear process is reac-
tionary in nature, relying on pre-formed problems, objec-
tives and alternatives before value assessments are made.
Participation of stakeholders is recognized as an impor-
tant element of the decision process [e.g., 16,17]. Active
and early stakeholder participation can provide value in-
formation in the critical problem and objectives forma-
tion stages of the decision process. In fact, it can inform
the entire decision process including the types of values
to be considered, selection of the preferred alternative
and its implementation.
This approach seeks to lend support to these chal-
lenges by allowing planners to incorporate intrinsic val-
ues into the process on the basis of reasonable and reli-
able empirical evidence. (3) Because of the special legal
and political foundations of National Parks, decisions
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
G. O. Rogers, E. K. Bardenhagen / Open Journal of Ecology 3 (2013) 343-353
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
therein may be somewhat insulated from economic valua-
tions, tradeoffs, and market proxy evaluations. But park
managers still make decisions that impact ecological
resources. The method developed herein supports these
resource management decisions by measuring the value
associated with ecological resources empirically, in mul-
tiple dimensions, and providing quantitative evidence.
familiar with the natural and cultural resources that com-
prise the park.
Cape Lookout has a broad range of resources, which
can be categorized into three basic categories: natural,
historical and infrastructural. Natural resources include a
diverse mix of plant and animal species, which depend
on the unique habitats in the park. Four endangered spe-
cies are listed within the park. The park is also home to a
legislatively-protected herd of wild horses, the Shackle
Hazardous storms are a persistent threat to Cape Lookout.
The impacts of hurricanes and tropical storms have af-
fected park resources and operations in the past few
decades [19]. The process described herein contributed to
the assessment of priority given each natural or cultural
resource in the course of emergency planning. These
priorities inform decisions about the preservation and
protection of park resources. These become particularly
relevant during hazard events when park personnel are
stretched thin and response teams include people less
familiar with the natural and cultural resources that com-
prise the park.
The data collected for this research were part of a
storm recovery planning process undertaken for the 90
km long barrier island system of Cape Lookout National
Seashore in North Carolina (Figure 1) [18]. Hazardous
storms are a persistent threat to Cape Lookout. The im-
pacts of hurricanes and tropical storms have affected
park resources and operations in the past few decades
[19]. The process described herein contributed to the
assessment of priority given each natural or cultural re-
source in the course of emergency planning. These pri-
orities inform decisions about the preservation and pro-
tection of park resources. These become particularly
relevant during hazard events when park personnel are
stretched thin and response teams include people less
Cape Lookout has a broad range of resources, which
can be categorized into three basic categories: natural,
igure 1. Location map of cape lookout national seashore.
G. O. Rogers, E. K. Bardenhagen / Open Journal of Ecology 3 (2013) 343-353
historical and infrastructural. Natural resources include a
diverse mix of plant and animal species, which depend
on the unique habitats in the park. Four endangered spe-
cies are listed within the park. The park is also home to a
legislatively-protected herd of wild horses, the Shackle-
ford Banks Horses. In addition, several unique habitats
support these flora and fauna, including tidal flats, salt
marshes, dune and beach areas, maritime forests and
ocean fisheries. Historic resources are directly tied to the
history of the seafaring communities of coastal North
Carolina. This park includes the two historic maritime
villages of Portsmouth and Cape Lookout which includes
the iconic Cape Lookout Lighthouse, two lighthouse
keeper’s quarters, two life saving stations, a former Coast
Guard station and numerous homes. Infrastructural re-
sources include human support systems such as dockage,
sand and paved roads, restrooms, visitor centers, water
and septic systems, communication facilities and main-
tained waterways.
A stakeholder-based valuation methodology was de-
veloped to measure the values for specific park resources
along multiple dimensions. Active stakeholders selected
the top-ten resources in Cape Lookout from an inventory
of natural and cultural resources. Each selected resource
was ranked on five dimensions—fundamental character,
visitation, scenic beauty, ability to operate, and ability to
be replaced. Factor analysis of these ratings reveals a two
dimensional space that places each resource relative to
one another.
This method is place-based in that the resources con-
sidered are geographically and culturally associated with
the place; it is resource driven in that the value(s) associ-
ated with each resource provides the primary stimulus
central to the assessment. The place-based resource-
driven approach to valuation involves the identification
of resources critical to the place, and assessing the
value(s) associated with each significant resource. A par-
simonious model of the value structure that accounts for
significant variation in the pattern of responses is used to
create a value-space that presents each resource relative
to all others.
4.1. Stakeholder Survey
Active stakeholders were asked to select the ten re-
sources “most important to the park,” from a list of 49
park resources included in park inventories and other
resources they might add. Each of the ten selected re-
sources was rated along five value types. Expressed im-
portance for “fundamental character”, “attracting visi-
tors”, “scenic beauty”, and “ability to operate”, was rated
on a zero-to-ten scale, where zero indicated “not at all
important”, and ten represented “extremely important”.
The “ability to be replaced” was also rated on a zero-to-
ten scale, where zero indicated “not able to be replaced”
and ten represented “easily replaced.”
These five types of value were developed through
discussions with park staff concerning resources and
their view of the reasons various resources were impor-
tant to the park. While 178 of 219 people that opened the
web survey selected the ten-most important resources (or
83.1%), 153 respondents rated the selected resources (or
69.9%). Respondents completed the survey in an average
of 15.2 minutes. Eight respondents did identify other
resources not represented in the inventory but all were
unique to that individual. Of the 49 resources initially
listed, only 47 were included in two or more respon-
dent’s top-ten-selections. Increasing the minimum thre-
shold to four or more top-ten selections resulted in very
minor alterations in the resource means and subsequent
factor analysis component loadings, but reduced the
number of resources considered to 44 rather than 47.
Because using a threshold of two is consistent with the
focus herein on shared-value, and maximizes the number
of resources considered, while controlling potential mea-
surement volatility associated with using single ratings,
the threshold of two or more is used herein.
4.2. Creating a Value-Space
The mean rating of each resource is a distributional
measure of the importance of each resource to “funda-
mental character”, “attracting visitors”, “scenic beauty”,
“ability to operate”, and “ability to replace”. Mean rat-
ings of resources selected among the top-ten for a place
might be expected to be concentrated in the upper end of
the zero-to-ten scale. Table 1 shows the mean ratings
throughout the scale. For example, the Piping Plover’s
(Charadrius melodus) mean rating is a 0.22 on ability to
replace and 2.13 on importance to operations. Meanwhile,
the Keeper’s Quarters is 8.82 on importance to character,
6.68 on importance to operations, while only 1.16 for
ability to be replaced. These ratings assess each resource
with respect to a common zero-to-ten scale with a mean-
ingful zero of “not at all important” or “not able to be
replaced”, and a maximum of ten reflecting “extremely
important” or “easily replaced”.
The relative ranking of each resource for each value
type ranges from one for the most important resource to
47 for the least important resource. The ranking is based
on the ratings given by respondents, which are the prod-
uct of the number of respondents selecting each resource
and the average rating or expressed-value. Ratings that
resulted in equal expressed values for two resources were
subsequently assigned unique ranks, where more people
selecting a resource ranked higher than the less fre-
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G. O. Rogers, E. K. Bardenhagen / Open Journal of Ecology 3 (2013) 343-353 347
Table 1. Descriptive statistics for each ecological resource.
Important to > Character Scenic Beauty Visitation Operations Able to be Replaced
Resource Name N Mean SD R N Mean SD RN Mean SD RN Mean SD R N Mean SD R
CL Lighthouse 131 9.70 1.08 1 136 9.751.031136 9.65 1.2111327.753.58 1 135 0.892.009
Banks Horses 68 9.34 1.20 2 69 9.381.132699.48 0.932675.963.71 4 68 1.182.4916
CL 1873
Keeper’s Quarters 71 8.82 1.81 3 71 8.751.953728.42 1.973716.683.28 3 73 1.161.9915
Dune & Beach Systems62 9.40 1.52 4 63 9.441.585649.25 1.684638.053.16 2 63 1.372.4714
PV Methodist Church 67 8.63 2.01 5 68 8.851.754688.50 2.265685.493.69 6 68 1.102.6117
PV Life Saving Station 58 8.84 1.91 6 56 8.661.916577.79 2.706575.213.70 10 57 1.072.2022
CL Life Saving Station 54 8.89 1.72 7 55 8.801.657557.98 2.227515.613.55 11 53 1.422.5218
Salt Marsh 50 9.32 1.42 8 50 9.660.828518.47 2.018517.493.57 5 51 1.202.3223
Ocean & Sound
Fisheries 47 9.32 1.67 9 47 8.532.739479.04 1.859477.703.30 7 48 1.812.7713
Historic Cemeteries (6) 47 8.70 2.02 10 44 7.932.5014457.982.7913455.493.51 16 45 0.271.5043
CL Coast Guard
Station 45 8.93 1.60 11 44 8.481.8910467.962.0910436.353.43 13 46 1.502.1419
PV Historic
Houses (16) 45 8.73 1.84 12 44 8.302.3112448.272.0911445.753.40 15 44 1.252.5025
PV P.O &
General Store 46 8.24 2.16 13 46 8.042.3111467.352.9515455.203.47 19 46 1.092.5627
Restrooms 52 6.85 3.21 14 50 4.323.4822507.242.9712477.472.77 8 51 8.042.731
PV Schoolhouse 40 8.75 1.94 15 41 8.222.3315418.172.4716405.983.41 18 41 1.152.6428
Maritime Forests 38 9.00 2.19 16 38 9.261.9313388.321.8918386.763.48 14 37 0.761.6438
GI Fish Camp
Cottages (21) 38 8.55 2.44 17 38 6.843.0820389.132.0414377.513.01 12 37 6.163.362
Visitor Center 40 7.55 2.64 18 40 6.752.9219407.932.4917387.872.13 9 39 5.463.293
CL 1907
Keeper’s Quarters 34 8.85 1.70 19 33 8.521.9518338.062.3021325.783.37 23 32 0.971.8936
Tidal Flats 34 8.82 2.62 20 33 9.271.9616338.482.1420337.363.68 17 33 1.212.5630
Endangered Sea Turtles36 8.31 1.77 21 36 7.812.8317387.452.3919384.323.66 24 38 1.743.1221
CL Area
Historic Houses (14) 29 8.59 1.79 22 30 8.532.0521307.702.6722275.153.45 26 30 1.072.1634
Roads 30 7.73 2.41 23 29 5.933.2124307.332.8824297.693.11 20 30 7.033.024
LP Cabins (20) 26 8.15 2.56 24 26 6.082.8425268.881.9923267.812.81 21 25 6.803.325
Aesthetic Env.
experiences 20 9.70 0.80 25 20 10.000.0023209.950.2225206.904.09 27 19 1.532.8737
Dockage Areas 22 8.59 1.94 26 22 6.682.9227228.362.2826219.331.46 22 22 7.093.397
Water Systems 21 7.81 2.27 27 21 5.573.7630217.672.7327207.503.05 25 21 7.523.046
Truck & Vehicle Fleet 17 9.29 1.00 28 16 7.003.2531168.382.2829168.382.13 28 16 6.693.1410
Migratory Birds
& Habitats 18 8.56 2.38 29 18 8.672.2226198.322.3828185.563.79 31 18 1.001.6840
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
G. O. Rogers, E. K. Bardenhagen / Open Journal of Ecology 3 (2013) 343-353
South Core Banks Jetty 15 9.27 1.44 30 15 8.332.4728157.802.3431155.933.43 33 15 2.673.2231
Other Nesting
Shorebirds 15 9.00 1.14 31 13 9.151.1429137.922.1834125.333.37 35 13 0.921.3844
Shelters & Pavilions 18 6.78 2.44 32 16 5.442.5334187.392.4330186.502.46 29 18 7.282.708
Parking Lots 15 8.00 2.42 33 15 5.333.8335157.132.5633157.533.04 30 15 7.133.4411
Trails & B’walks 13 7.85 2.44 34 14 6.862.3832138.381.8532146.573.30 32 14 7.072.0912
Bottlenosed Dolphin 10 8.20 2.58 35 11 8.092.5933107.702.6335103.303.62 42 11 1.091.9245
Les & Sally’s
Env. Camp 8 8.50 2.14 36 8 5.253.773886.753.15 3786.383.42 37 8 3.383.5439
Piping Plover-EB 8 8.00 2.14 37 9 6.673.203686.003.12 3882.132.47 45 9 0.220.4447
Harkers Island Marina 7 8.71 1.60 38 7 7.862.343778.291.80 3677.863.67 36 7 4.864.1032
Maint. & Equip. Bldgs. 8 6.38 3.34 39 8 3.631.514185.002.56 4089.001.20 34 8 7.501.4124
Amaranth-EP 5 8.80 2.38 40 4 7.503.004046.503.11 4235.675.13 45 4 1.503.0046
RV Dump Stations 8 5.25 3.88 41 9 3.113.954294.894.20 3985.753.77 39 9 7.562.8820
Bridges 5 8.00 3.08 42 5 6.603.213958.003.46 4158.403.58 40 5 6.403.2935
Fuel Storage Areas 6 5.33 4.08 43 6 3.173.714463.674.23 4468.332.34 38 6 8.831.1726
GI Generator Shed 4 7.00 2.45 44 5 1.201.104752.001.58 4645.504.80 44 5 9.200.8429
Building 4 6.00 4.32 45 4 3.004.764544.254.19 4549.251.50 41 4 8.251.2633
Ranger Cabins at LP 3 8.00 1.73 46 3 8.002.654338.671.53 4339.001.73 43 3 4.334.9342
Ranger Cabins
at GI Camps 2 6.50 2.12 47 2 4.001.414622.500.71 4727.502.12 47 2 8.500.7141
Mean = Mean Rating, SD = Standard Deviation, R = Rank, CL = Cape Lookout, PV = Portsmouth Village, GI = Great Island, LP = Long Point, EB = Endangered
Bird, EP = Endangered Plant, Env. = Environmental
quently selected resource. The resulting ranking is the
count of resources from most important (rank = 1) to
least important (rank = 47).
It is hardly surprising that the importance to character,
scenic beauty, visitation, and operations for all top-ten
resources receive high average ratings8.2, 7.2, 7.5 and
6.7 respectively. After all they were selected because
they were considered the ten-most important resources.
The ability to be replaced was rated as 3.8 on average.
The top nine resources are ranked the same by character,
scenic beauty, and visitation, and eight of the top nine are
also in the top nine for operations. In a similar vein, the
bottom nine resources by character, scenic beauty and
visitation include the same resources although they are
not in the same order, and the rankings on operations
includes seven of the same nine resources. The rankings
on ability to be replaced share top-ten status with char-
acter, scenic beauty and visitation only for the Cape
Lookout Lighthouse; the Ranger Cabins at Long Point
and Great Island, and the Sea-Beach Amaranth (Ama-
ranthus pumilus) are the least able to be replaced and
have bottom-ten rankings on character, scenic beauty and
visitation. The Pearson Correlations among the value-
type measures are presented in Table 2.
The strong correlations among importance to character,
scenic beauty and visitation for both the mean rating and
the ranking seem to indicate that these value-types are
sharing the value-space to some extent. The weaker cor-
relations between these three measures and importance to
operations indicates unique contribution to the value-
space. While the stronger negative correlations between
these three and the ability to be replaced indicates some
limited overlap with character, scenic beauty and visita-
tion, but in the other (although not opposite) direction.
The importance of operations is not significantly corre-
lated with any other measure except the ability to replace,
which accounts for about one-fourth of the overall varia-
tion. This suggests that both operations and the ability to
be replaced may be contributing independently to the
overall value-space.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
G. O. Rogers, E. K. Bardenhagen / Open Journal of Ecology 3 (2013) 343-353 349
The factor analysis results, as reported in Ta ble 3, re-
vealed two principal factors (with eigenvalues of 3.23
and 0.89 respectively). The first factor explains most of
the variance in the value space (80.7%) and has high
factor loadings on fundamental character (0.901), scenic
beauty (0.980) and visitation (0.864). The second factor
accounts for the remaining variance (22.2%) with high
loadings on the ability to operate (0.728) and able to be
replaced (0.521). The eigenvalues and the zero additional
explained variance after two factors confirm a two-factor
value-space. This value-space (Figure 2) is standardized
both horizontally and vertically. Each resource is de-
picted in the value-space relative to all others. The x-axis
of the value-space seems to carry an underlying character
of aesthetic qualitygenerally the more negative the
factor scores the more limited aesthetic quality, while the
higher the factor score for a resource higher the degree of
aesthetic quality. Resources with the lowest aesthetic
quality scores include resources like maintenance sheds,
fuel storage and waste disposal areas, and administration
buildings, while resources with the highest scores in-
clude aesthetic environmental experiences, the Shackle
Table 2. Pearson Correlations among value-type ratings, between ratings and rankings, and among rankings.
Ratings C SB V O R
Character (C) ---
Scenic Beauty (SB) 0.883 ---
Visitation (V) 0.790 0.834 ---
Operations (O) NS NS NS ---
Replaceable (R) 0.746 0.861 0.552 0.571 ---
Ratings/Ranking C SB V O R
Character (C) 0.620
Scenic Beauty (SB) 0.669 0.746
Visitation (V) 0.600 0.656 0.665
Operations (O) 0.506 0.548 0.623 0.092
Replaceable (R) NS NS NS 0.416 0.400
Rankings C SB V O R
Character (C) ---
Scenic Beauty (SB) 0.986 ---
Visitation (V) 0.995 0.981 ---
Operations (O) 0.962 0.932 0.969 ---
Replaceable (R) 0.415 0.331 0.458 0.580 ---
Table 3. Factor loadings for the value-space of mean ratings (quartimax rotation).
Mean Ratings
Aesthetic Quality Factor 1 Functional Quality Factor 2
Eigenvalue 3.23 0.887
Character 0.901 0.001
Scenic Beauty 0.98 0.074
Visitation 0.864 0.284
Operations 0.208 0.728
Replaceable 0.818 0.521
Variance Explained 0.807 0.222
Cronbach’s Alpha = 0.84, Shaded cells contain loadings > 0.05, which reflects loadings that dominate the factor.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
G. O. Rogers, E. K. Bardenhagen / Open Journal of Ecology 3 (2013) 343-353
Figure 2. Two-factor value-space for resources associated with cape lookout national seashore.
ford Banks Horses, the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, salt
marshes, and dune and beach systems. The y-axis of the
space seems to be associated with a functional quality
with dockage, vehicles, roads, cabins and cottages hav-
ing positive factor scores, and Piping Plover, historic
cemeteries and Beaufort’s Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops
truncates) on the negative side. Generally, positive factor
scores reflect infrastructural resources with an emphasis
on logistics and function, while negative scores reflect
historic, cultural and environmental resources, with en-
dangered species being among the most negatively lo-
cated. Infrastructural resources dominate the upper-left
quadrantno other resource types are located in this
quadrant. Historical resources, along with many envi-
ronmental resources, dominate the lower-right quadrant.
Endangered species tend toward the middle of the aes-
thetic quality but are extremely low on infrastructural
function as reflected in their importance to operations
and ability to be replaced.
Visual inspection of Figure 2 also shows that the re-
sources tend to cluster by category. The separation of
infrastructural resources in the upper left quadrant of the
value space demonstrates the clear difference between
active human ecological resources and other ecological
resources (i.e., difference of means t-test finds infra-
structure scores different from all other types of re-
sources, p < 0.01). As artifacts of the human ecology,
historic resources are afforded considerable aesthetic
quality, while tending toward being difficult to replace if
not irreplaceablealthough there seems to be a recogni-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
G. O. Rogers, E. K. Bardenhagen / Open Journal of Ecology 3 (2013) 343-353 351
tion that the function of the lighthouse would be replaced
as it is separated from the other historic resources.
Threatened species tend to share a similar space (i.e.,
factor scores are not significantly different, p > 0.15)
although reaching far less functional quality with the
piping plover being the lowest functional quality score
among all resources. While habitats are visually over-
lapped with threatened species, they afford significantly
higher scores on both functional and aesthetic quality (p <
While each resource is valued individually, they are
valued in the context of the place. The value of a park is
more than any single resource (or for that matter) the
sum of all resources. The uniqueness of the place lies in
the interconnections among resources, their independ-
ence, codependence, and the subtle combination of re-
sources that combine to create a unique whole. Like the
combination of spices in a gourmet meal coming to-
gether subtly to form the whole, the resources of a place
combine to create value-space associated with the place.
This can be seen as the “capital” upon which the park
draws in order to provide recreational and cultural ser-
vices [20]. As multiple dimensions of value are brought
together in a complex admixture, these subtleties become
more intricate and unique; and the value of the place
increases. The two-dimensional value-space presents the
pattern of relationships between resources relative to one
another that inform resource management, environmental
planning, and policy.
As reported above, all the resources represented in the
upper-left quadrant of the value-space are infrastructural,
and 57.1% of all infrastructural resources are located in
this quadrant. Historical resources, along with many en-
vironmental resources, dominate the lower-right quadrant,
with 84.6% of historical resources and 60.0% of the en-
vironmental resources being located in this quadrant.
Specific endangered species are located near the bot-
tom-middle of the value-space, with near-zero aesthetic
quality and negative functional quality. This seems to
reflect the intrinsic value of endangered species. The
endangered species are neutral to the observable aes-
thetic quality as less likely to be experienced directly
than other environmental resources (e.g., maritime for-
ests, dunes and beaches, and salt marshes), which are
more positively located with respect to aesthetic quality.
This is consistent with the idea that endangered species
have value beyond simple mortality as irreplaceable in-
dicators of environmental health. They are valued as
once-gone-forever-lost resources that have value because
of their mere existence, even if they are never directly
experienced. The Shackleford Banks Horses, Cape
Lookout Lighthouse, Maritime Forests, Dune and Beach
Systems, Tidal Flats, and Salt Marshes are more likely to
impact directly an aesthetic environmental experience
than endangered species; and these aesthetic environ-
mental experiences are characterized by strongly positive
aesthetic quality and near neutral functional quality.
The place-based resource-driven method of valuing
resources presented herein is clearly within the realm of
participatory valuation. It represents a specific systematic
method to quantitatively codify the nature of values as-
sociated with a place and treats identifiable resources as
the objects of value in the place. In the development of
various objectives and alternatives, the value-space iden-
tifies resources of similar perceived value, which help to
define, shape and establish the nature of the problem.
Decision and policy makers, planners and resource
managers can use the value-space to associate, or disas-
sociate outcomes and alternatives. For example, the case
of Cape Lookout, resource managers are well aware of
the central role of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse and the
Shackleford Banks Horses, but may be less aware of the
similarity of the role that salt marshes, dune and beach
systems seem to have in establishing aesthetic environ-
mental experiences. The value-space also helps resource
managers and policy makers determine the boundary of
the problem and potential solutions. For example, the
geographic impact zone of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse
is quite largeencompassing not only the visible-line-
of-sight, which is large; but it has become a symbolic
icon of the entire region, which is even larger. These im-
pacts of resources often extend beyond geographic
boundaries (e.g., the park boundary) well into contextual
boundaries, which the value maps can help clarify. An-
other decision criterion might consider the extent to
which the various alternatives treat resources that are
grouped together in the value-space in a similar fashion.
The place-based method discussed herein establishes
communities-of-resources that either hold similar per-
ceived value to the place or are grouped geographically,
which highlights the potential consequences of environ-
mental choices.
The place-based resource-driven valuation provides
decision processes with a methodology that codifies,
quantifies and visualizes the relationship between resour-
ces and underlying values. This process:
establishes an inventory of resources (e.g., natural,
historical and infrastructural) that are of value to the
establishes the full-range of potential types of value
associated with significant resources;
quantitatively assesses the significant resources of the
place for each type of value and any potential inter-
actions among value-types;
provides insights that shape boundary conditions, and
impact zones for each resource and the place as a
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
G. O. Rogers, E. K. Bardenhagen / Open Journal of Ecology 3 (2013) 343-353
visually illustrates similarities and differences among
resources in terms of the underlying value-space; and
establishes communities-of-resources within value-
structures to illustrate interdependencies among re-
Natural resource managers, environmental planners,
and historical resource guardians are often faced with
decisions that require assessment of non-market values.
While these intrinsic values are recognized as important,
efforts to account for them often rely on qualitative in-
terpretation of the significance and value of these re-
sources. The place-based resource-driven method pre-
sented herein, supplements these methods by quantifying
the value associated with these resources along multiple
dimensions. This method quantifies expressed prefer-
ences for various resources, in similar fashion to other
empirical quantitative methods (e.g., contingent valua-
tion or willingness-to-pay). Each can be used independ-
ently, or combined to provide a stronger empirical quan-
titative basis for non-arbitrary environmental decisions
impacting ecological resources.
This article presents a pilot effort to identify a meth-
odology to more efficiently codify, quantify and illustrate
the intrinsic values associated with ecological resources.
The benefits of analyzing a single national park such as
Cape Lookout National Seashore include, a definitive
boundary within which to operate, a pre-existing invent-
tory of natural and cultural resources, and a highly
knowledgeable dedicated park staff to inform the process.
The focus of this research has been on the valuation of
the pre-existing ecological resources of the park. Throu-
gh iterative discussions with park staff five value-types
were selected for consideration. Natural and historical re-
sources selected among the top-ten by stakeholders were
rated through a web-based survey. Factor analysis of
these data confirms the existence of a two dimensional
value-space. Factor analysis is particularly well-suited
for this endeavor as it, 1) focuses on significant dimen-
sions by selecting the factor that accounts for the most
variance in the joint distribution of resources, iteratively
followed by the additional factor(s) that account for the
most remaining variance, 2) selects dimensions those are
orthogonal to each other and thereby independent of each
other, and 3) converts all values to a standardized ab-
stract metric to facilitate comparison. The resulting val-
ue-space has two dimensions that are connected, at least
loosely, with aesthetic quality on the horizontal-axis and
functional quality on the vertical-axis.
The present pilot research is intended to explore the
potential to measure values associated with ecological
resources in multiple dimensions. While it has shown
that multiple dimensions of value can be measured quan-
titatively, it represents only one national park, where a
concentration of historical and natural resources is lo-
cated primarily on barrier islands with no bridges. It is
not possible to know from these results the extent to
which these values generalize to similar parks, parks
with similar resources and greater access, parks that en-
compass communities, other kinds of parks, or commu-
nities in general. This effort took advantage of extensive
discussions with long-term park staff members in devel-
oping the types of values that were likely to be associ-
ated with park resources, but this could mean that other
kinds of values may have been inadvertently omitted
(e.g., peace and tranquility, repository of biodiversity or
cultural heritage, or economic stimulus). While it is clear
that any finite set of value-types will always exclude
potential alternative value-types, a systematic approach
involving all stakeholders would help assure that the
range of value-types considered represent a full-range of
potentially important values. As a pilot study this re-
search draws on a limited respondent sample, but results
in a relatively shared value structure that includes an
adequate number of resources to support the analysis.
Without the park to focus and sharpen public attention on
specific natural and cultural resources, more diffuse
value structures may prove difficult to characterize in
terms of vague or loosely associated resources (e.g., the
people, our children, leadership or friendliness).
Future research will extend the present effort by ex-
amining various parks and their resources. This research
will begin to clarify the extent to which the pattern of
resources and valuations is stable or variable, unique or
shared, global or local and to what extent generalizable.
The extent to which park with similar resources under
various conditions share common elements of the value-
space, and the extent to which the value-spaces are
unique is an important guide to the kinds of policies and
plans that are likely to meet with success in the National
Park Service as a whole. The extent of temporal stability
of the value-space is an important determinant of the
ongoing need for public participation. Similarities and
differences among groups’ value-spaces can inform re-
source managers about appropriate actions. For example,
comparing the value-space for two or more groups of
various interests may be used to inform conflict resolu-
tion efforts.
The impacts of climate change are expected to have
serious impacts on barrier island parks. Future research
following the approach developed herein makes it possi-
ble to preview impacts to the overall resource-base as
various resources are lost or threatened (e.g., to sea level
rise, hurricane damage, or tidal surges). Some resources
have the potential to be protected or moved to safer loca-
tions, others may relocate naturally; still others may be
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
G. O. Rogers, E. K. Bardenhagen / Open Journal of Ecology 3 (2013) 343-353
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
restored or reconstructed as replicas of historic resources.
The place-based resource-driven approach allows for
these potential outcomes to be quantified so that impacts
on various resources and alternatives can be compared.
Such comparisons can be achieved in the context of their
geographic location(s) and the potential area of influence
associated with that resource (e.g., through view-sheds,
or access zones). In other words each resource can be
located on a geographic map, and the impact zone con-
sidered (e.g., perhaps values depicted as contours on the
map), so that resources can be bundled with their values
in decision making and planning.
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