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Economic Impacts of Nonresidential Wildlife Watching in the United States

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Wildlife watching has become more popular in recent years. By use of data from the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, the demand for nonresidential wildlife watching and associated consumer surplus in the United States were assessed at the national scale. Participation and trip frequency were jointly examined through a sample selection model. The binary probit and negative binomial models identified several significant factors, including demographic characteristics, resource availability, and costs of relevant activities. Furthermore, wildlife watching was found to have a varying relation with hunting and fishing, depending on the type of decision being made. When an individual made a decision whether to participate in wildlife watching, hunting and fishing were a substitute for wildlife watching. Once the participation choice was made, however, the relation became complementary. Total consumer surplus of nonresidential wildlife watching in the United States was up to $217 billion in 2006. These findings can help policymakers design better programs to promote wildlife watching and assist land managers to improve resource management.
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Keywords: consumer surplus; nonconsumptive recreation; sample selection; travel cost

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2015-02-08

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  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
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