Title: The recreational use value of a national forest
Authors: Simões, Paula Marisa Nunes 
Keywords: Travel cost method;Contingent behaviour method;Forest recreation demand;Count data;Joint estimation
Issue Date: 2-Feb-2013
Publisher: FEUC
Citation: Simões, Paula Marisa Nunes - The recreational use value of a national forest. Coimbra, 2012
Abstract: National forests and woodlands are some of the environmental public resources that provide a diversity of goods and services to society. Supporting, regulating, provisioning and cultural services are all known to contribute to human well-being. As these services are not traded in regular markets because of the public or semi-public characteristics of the resources involved, their values are largely unknown. However, a deeper knowledge of the related benefits’ value is expected to help to enhance management practices. The research described in this dissertation concentrates on the analysis of the benefits related to recreational activities enjoyed in national forests and in understanding the demand for these environmental services. The research was motivated by the perception that these values are largely unknown, particularly in Portugal. Bussaco National Forest was chosen as the case study area, but the conclusions are likely to be adapted and extended to other national forests. Two non-market valuation techniques, the travel cost method and the contingent behaviour method, are used to estimate the recreational use benefits. The travel cost method, which belongs to the group of revealed preferences techniques, is used to analyse the actual behaviour and enables us to estimate recreational use values in current conditions. The individual version of the method is identified as the most accurate in the present context as we analyse the recreational demand of a forest visited by people living at different distances from it. From the management perspective, it is also important to address how people would behave if new hypothetical conditions were to be observed. It is particularly important to predict the effects on demand resulting from changes in forest access costs and from the deterioration of current conservation conditions due to a forest fire. The contingent behaviour method, which belongs to the group of stated preferences techniques, is applied jointly with the travel cost method to assess the effects of these changes. Count data models corrected for endogenous stratification and ordered models are used in the analysis of the actual visit behaviour. Travel cost, substitute cost, income per capita, visit motivations, on-site time and visit distribution during the year were identified as the main explanatory variables of demand. Price and income elasticity of demand computed using count data models are low. This result is supported by the ordered models, as results show that the change in income/price must be quite significant to modify demand levels. Considering only the current users, the forest recreational use value estimated for the past three years is about €106 700. A count data model and a pseudo-panel specification is used to combine contingent and observed travel behaviour. The analysis reveals that visitors are sensitive to price and quality changes and that in the forest fire scenario the intended number of trips would be seriously reduced, thus imposing an important welfare loss. There are evidences of hypothetical bias in answers to future behaviour if current conditions do not change and signals of strategic bias when changes in management options are in view. There are no signals of these biases when the quality changes are exogenous.
Description: Tese de doutoramento em Economia, apresentada á Faculdade de Economia da Universidade de Coimbra , sob a orientação de Luís Cruz e Eduardo Barata.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10316/23334
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:FEUC- Teses de Doutoramento

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