Non-market Recreational Value of a National Forest: Survey Design and Results
This paper presents and discusses the main features of a forest recreation survey. The first objective of the survey is the collection of primary data to be used in non-market valuation through the application of the travel cost and contingent behaviour methods. The second is to improve available data regarding people environmental perceptions and recreational preferences. Respondents in the sample were surveyed in Bussaco National Forest during one year period.When compared to the Portuguese population, respondents are younger, have more years of formal education and higher incomes. Expressively, environmental concerns and preferences for open air recreational activities are perceptible. Visits to Bussaco are motivated mainly by the willing to contact with nature and socialize with friends and family. The average annual visit frequency is of 1.9 and the average distance travelled is 80 kilometres. Bussaco national forest is regarded as being a good recreational space, currently not facing serious threats to conservation. The return of only 29.5% of the questionnaires distributed is a demonstration of the difficult balance between the extension of the questionnaire and the response rate. However, the research was successful in the hard task of distinguishing and characterising multiple destination trips and in identifying Bussaco substitutes.
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