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Going to the Woods Is Going Home: Recreational Benefits of a Larger Urban Forest Site — A Travel Cost Analysis for Berlin, Germany

Christine Bertram and Neele Larondelle

Ecological Economics, 2017, vol. 132, issue C, 255-263

Abstract: We present an application of the travel cost method to a large urban forest site in Berlin, Germany. The analysis is based on a large onsite survey and the same survey administered online. Although such applications are rare in an urban context, applying a seasonal demand model to the case of Grunewald is possible because the distances travelled are relatively large, the majority of the respondents use motorized or public transport, and Grunewald is a large and unique urban forest site with very few substitutes. The main results are the following: (1) The demand for visits to Grunewald is less elastic if only Berlin residents are taken into account compared to when residents from the entire larger urban area of Berlin are considered. (2) Estimated consumer surpluses are therefore greater if only Berlin residents are taken into consideration. (3) In addition, demand is more elastic for the internet sample than for the on-site sample. (4) Results suggest a lower bound overall consumer surplus of 14.95 € per visit. The results indicate that despite its inherent limitations, non-market economic valuation through the travel cost method can provide administrations with a powerful tool to monetize the benefits of urban forest recreation to increase public funding and redirect resources to address intensified use.

Date: 2017
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