K.U.Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Applied Economics : Department of Economics
CES - Discussion Paper Series (DPS) 06.12 vol:DPS 06.12 pages:1-39
This paper looks at the optimal location of new forests in a suburban region under area constraints. The GIS-based methodology takes into account use benefits such as timber, hunting, carbon sequestration and recreation, non-use benefits (both bequest and existence values), opportunity costs of converting agricultural land, as well as planting and management costs of the new forest. The recreation benefits of new forest sites are estimated using function transfer techniques. We show that the net social benefit of the total afforestation project may vary up to a factor 6, depending on the forest sites that are selected. We show that the recreation value of a forest site varies considerably with the available substitutes.