Choice Experiment: The Orang Asli

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A choice experiment is a stated preference method based on demand, welfare and consumer theory (Lancaster, 1966) and random utility model (RUM) developed by McFadden (1974). It was first developed for marketing and transportation related studies, but used extensively in the valuation of environmental amenities (Bennett and Blamey, 2001). It allows the valuation of changes in welfare, or policies relating to their level of provision. In CE, sets of choices made up of alternative outcomes are based on hypothetical scenarios. These alternative outcomes vary in their specific characteristics of which, are known to influence choices. By presenting a range of choice sets to the individuals, it can be ascertained to which attribute level influence…show more content…
Although there many are attributes directly associated with Orang Asli and and their wise use of natural resources, we focused specifically on three major attributes, namely documentation of medicinal plants and knowledge of their use, traditional forest-related knowledge and conservation of natural resources. These attributes were broadly based on the ecosystem services identified in line with local and international policies, including the National Policy on Biological Diversity and CBD. The indigenous knowledge and practices on medicinal plants are of particular interest because there are more than 2,000 species of medicinal plants in Malaysia of which, about 800 species of medicinal and aromatic plants has been documented through consultation with the Orang Asli. In addition, there is also rising demand for traditional medicine products, especially in the primary health care and cosmeceuticals as pointed out by Nicholas (2004). We also include traditional forest-related knowledge (TFRK) as one of the attribute to support the fundamental roles of the Orang Asli in maintaining cultural values, livelihood, sustainable management of forest ecosystems. While it is true that not all Orang Asli lives in forest areas, most Orang Asli communities e.g. Jahai, Bateq, Temiar, and Jakun are still living within ecoregion hotspots, in particular the Central Forest Spine (CFS), including Belum-Temengor, Endau-Rompin and Taman Negara. The inclusion of TFRK in our study is primarily to value the traditional knowledge and practices among various Orang Asli ethnic groups in Penisular Malaysia with respect to forest resources management. While the scope of the second attribute specifically applies to the trees and forest environments, the third attribute is a representation of general aspects of conservation

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