Natural areas are essentially multifunctional, contributing in multiple ways to human well-being. Ecosystem goods and services are provided through ecosystem functions (regulation, habitat, production and information). Among the multiple services provided by natural areas, recreational services are increasingly valuable. The main objective of our paper is to evaluate the recreation demand of the “Sensitive Natural Areas”(SNA) public policy in the Hérault District (Languedoc-Roussillon Region, France). These natural areas are acquired as land ownership by the Hérault District to ensure their protection from urban pressure and making them free to access. We highlight the recreation benefits in a Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) whilst measuring the direct use value set by visitors, and then we economically ground this SNA conservation policy. We show that the Consumer Surplus (CS) mean value is estimated at 58.82 euros (US$78.03) per visitor and per trip, from a range of 34.60 euros (US$45.90) to 83.04 euros (US$110.16). According to identified number of visitors, this result may show this SNA policy to be cost-efficient.
Recreation demand analysis of the sensitive natural areas (Hérault District, France): a travel cost appraisal using count data models
14 January 2014