Valuing enhancements to forest recreation using choice experiment and contingent behaviour methods

Author(s): Christie M, Hanley N, Hynes S


This research utilises two valuation techniques (a frequency-based choice experiment model and a contingent behaviour model) to value a range of improvements to recreational facilities in forest and woodlands in Great Britain. We provide the first comparison in the literature of welfare results from these two approaches. Four groups of forest users are targeted in this research: cyclists, horse riders, nature watchers and general forest visitors, and look also at “sub-groupings” within these classes of forest user. We found that heterogeneity of preferences exists within each of these groups. In particular, more specialist forest user groups attain generally higher values for improvements than general users. For example, downhill mountain bikers were willing to pay more for the provision of dedicated downhill courses than family cyclists for easy cycle trails. It is also argued that the use of a frequency-based choice task in the choice experiment has advantages over the more traditional choice tasks for applications such as forest recreation since a frequency-based task better reflects actual behaviour and encourages respondents to pay closer attention to the “distance travelled” attribute.

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