Forest Ecosystem Service Values: Aesthetic/Amenity - Recreation Private Lands

Land Use: Forest Lands - Private Lands
Ecosystem Service: Aesthetic/Amenity-Recreation
Regional Value Estimate: $38 per acre per year
Confidence Level (in estimated value): Moderate-High

How was value determined:

  1. The county-level values for private forest lands aesthetic/amenity-recreation were transferred from a peer-reviewed hedonic study of housing values adjacent to forest lands in Ottawa County, Michigan; one peer-reviewed article valuing deer hunting in Northern Lower Michigan; and one federal government report valuing pheasant hunting throughout the United States (Thorsnes 2002;Feather et al 1999).
  2. The hedonic study values were converted to a per acre figure utilizing the added value of a house located near a forest, the average number of households, and the average amount of forest land per acre in each county (Thorsnes 2002U.S. Census Bureau 2007). They were annualized using a 7% discount rate, which is the rate required by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget for most governmental agencies doing cost/benefit analysis.
  3. Deer hunting values were converted to an annual per acre figure utilizing Michigan deer harvest figures by county for 2005 (Frawley 2006) and added to the pheasant hunting per acre value; the total was then added to the combined aesthetic/amenity-recreation value for private forest lands.
  4. To get a regional value, an average value of the county-level data was taken.

Value estimate limitations:

  1. Hedonic values can contain errors from unobserved housing and land variables not included in the original study.
  2. Additionally, using average values for an entire county leads to valuation errors because housing values will be affected differently depending on proximity to forest lands.
  3. Deer hunting data are not recent (1984). Nonetheless, these data are comparable to more recent data if we assume that it takes 10 hunting days to achieve each deer kill.
  4. We did not take into consideration all possible types of recreation that might occur on private forest lands (e.g., fall color viewing) because there was insufficient information from other studies that could be transferred to West Michigan for this ecosystem service and/or land use. As a result, our value estimate is biased downward.








Estimated Forest Lands - Private Lands Aesthetic/Amenity-Recreation Values