About

Dr Takahiro Kubo focuses on the economics and behaviour change concerning biodiversity conservation and wildlife and tourism management. Takahiro obtained his BSc and MSc from Hokkaido University, Japan (2010, 2012) and completed his PhD in Natural Resource Economics at Kyoto University in 2015, developing economic valuation approaches for wildlife and protected area management. During his PhD, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology (REES) at the University of Alberta, Canada.

Takahiro is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Anthropology and Conservation, funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), working on the project Promotion of biodiversity conservation through changes in human behaviour: Field experiments for policy evaluations in collaboration with Professor Douglas MacMillan. Dr Kubo is also a researcher at the Center for Environmental Biology and Ecosystem Studies, National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), Japan.

Research interests

Takahiro has expertise in the economic valuation of ecosystem services and behaviour change to address sustainability challenges, including climate change, biodiversity conservation, environmental degradation and resource scarcity. He is also interested in the incorporation of broad scientific knowledge into economic analysis and interdisciplinary approaches in conservation.

Publications

Article

  • Honjo, K. and Kubo, T. (2020). Social Dilemmas in Nature-Based Tourism Depend on Social Value Orientations. Scientific Reports [Online] 10. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-60349-z.
    Nature-based tourism (NBT) is vulnerable to a rapid increase in visitors because natural resources are often open access. Market failure caused by over-exploitation of natural resources is an example of social dilemmas in common-pool resource systems. Game theory, which describes people’s decision making under conflicts, has been applied to the analysis of social dilemmas in NBT. However, previous studies use non-cooperative games assuming individualistic players and discuss the emergence of social dilemmas only in a limited situation. Here, we demonstrate, by developing a two-player non-cooperative game of wildlife viewing, that the traditional game-theoretic approach fails to find social dilemmas. By analysing the competition between tour operators (players) with different social value orientations (SVOs), we found that concentration of tours becomes a Pareto-inefficient Nash equilibrium (PINE) when both players are competitive. Whether the wildlife-viewing market is a Prisoner’s dilemma depends on players’ SVOs. Furthermore, we found that fair punishment on competitive players promotes rather than suppresses the emergence of PINE. Our results suggest that the diversity of SVOs is an essential factor in understanding social dilemmas in NBT.
  • Kubo, T., Tsuge, T., Abe, H. and Yamano, H. (2018). Understanding island residents’ anxiety about impacts caused by climate change using Best–Worst Scaling: a case study of Amami islands, Japan. Sustainability Science [Online] 14:131-138. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11625-018-0640-8.
    Climate change poses significant risk to island communities; however, there has been limited quantitative investigation into local people’s perception toward the risk. This study applied Best–Worst Scaling (BWS) to understand residents’ anxieties about potential incidents caused by climate change in Amami islands, Japan. Through an interview with stakeholders, we selected five potential incidents for our BWS attributes: damage caused by typhoon and heavy rain (typhoon), damage caused by flood and a landslide (flood), damage from a drought (drought), damage from ciguatera fish poisoning (ciguatera), and incident caused by jellyfish (jellyfish). Changes in frequencies of the abovementioned incidents have already been observed in Japan. In 2016, we conducted a questionnaire survey of residents in Amami islands and received over 700 valid responses to BWS questions. Results showed that the average respondent was most anxious about the risk of typhoon, followed by flood, drought, ciguatera, and jellyfish. Furthermore, a comparative analysis did not find large variations among the islands in the residents’ anxiety ranking concerning the incidents, but the degrees of their anxieties were different. The Amami-Oshima residents, for example, had relatively higher anxieties about flood, whereas the Okinoerabujima residents showed higher anxiety about drought. These findings support that their risk perceptions are determined by their experience and surrounding environments. Understanding the sensitivity of residents to climate change risk will encourage stakeholders to communicate and enhance climate change adaptation in local communities.
  • Kubo, T. and Shoji, Y. (2014). Spatial tradeoffs between residents’ preferences for brown bear conservation and the mitigation of human–bear conflicts. Biological Conservation [Online] 176:126-132. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2014.05.019.
    The present study analyzes the preferences of residents around protected areas for brown bear conservation. We use a discrete choice experiment visualized with regional maps in order to explore preferences for bear conservation across six areas, namely three residential areas, popular tourist sites, and protected areas in Shiretoko Peninsula, Japan. The presented results show that the sampled residents have heterogeneous site-specific preferences. They prefer bear conservation in protected areas and they are more averse to conservation in residential areas. However, they support coexistence with bears in general. Moreover, residents’ attitudes become more negative with closer proximity between bear habitats and their residences. In addition, the occupations of local residents also affect their preferences. Those residents that depend on agriculture and commercial fishing have more negative attitudes toward bear conservation relative to those that depend on tourism. Therefore, we conclude that integrating the preferences of residents into zoning management planning helps promote wildlife conservation and resolve potential human–wildlife conflicts.
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