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Forests improve qualities and values of local areas in Denmark

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Afforestation can create multiple societal benefits. One fifth of the Danish municipalities plans to afforest in the next 5 years, amongst other reasons to attract new inhabitants. The attractiveness and values of afforested areas have been investigated in two independent Danish studies. In the first study qualitative and quantitative surveys in two municipalities indicated that forests improved quality of life of the respondents. A short distance from the residence to nearest forest usually resulted in a higher frequency of forest visits and a more positive view on the nature qualities of the local area in general, compared to respondents living further from forests. Proximity to nature, including forests, was furthermore mentioned as the most important reason for choice of their present home by 17% of the respondents. These results are supported by the second study in which house prices are used to elicit the residents' valuation of forested housing areas. By using the hedonic price method house owners' willingness to pay for proximity to forests was found to be significant and positive, and in most circumstances the aggregated value is expected to exceed the cost of afforestation.
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Keywords: Afforestation; attachment; distance to forest; hedonic price method; quality of life

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Geography, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark 2: Danish Forest and Landscape Research Institute, Hørsholm, Denmark 3: Institute of Local Government Studies Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark

Publication date: 2002-12-01

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