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Realizing the Economic Value of a Forested Landscape in a Viewshed

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Existing literature on nonmarket valuation indicates an ambiguous value of the view of a forest due largely to the fact that these studies relied on inappropriate proxies or poor measures of forest view. The current study attempts to fill this gap by using GIS to measure the actual forest area that is visible from a house and then using a hedonic regression model to examine how its value is reflected in residential housing price. A spatial hedonic model of residential housing price was applied to housing sales data in a forested landscape located in the southeastern portion of Cheatham County and the adjacent Scottsboro-Bells Bend area of Davidson County, near Nashville, Tennessee. Results indicate that increasing the size of forest area visible from a house by 1 ac increased the house price by $30. The findings imply that residents place a significant value on and likely pay a price premium to preserve the view of a forest. Findings from this study could be useful in evaluating viewshed protection policies as a hedge against development pressures that threaten the forested landscapes and in designing market protocols for scenic view as an ecosystem service.
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Keywords: forest view; hedonic model; spatial lag; valuation; viewshed analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-05-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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