Valuing, Recreational benefits of Urban Forestry

Forests provide a range of benefits (both market and non-market) to the society. These non-market benefits (NMBs) or intangible benefits include open access recreation, public amenity and landscape benefits. Urban forests or urban greens are one of such resources, which are responsible for various environmental, recreational and educational benefits to the human society. Chandigarh is one of the planned cities of India, which is known in the world for its magnificent parks/gardens/urban greenery and was selected for quantification of recreational use value of urban forestry. The non-market value of recreational benefits provided by the urban forestry of the city, from the point of view of residents as well as tourists was estimated. The mean willingness to pay (WTP) for the betterment of existing green landscape features and for creating new parks/gardens on the part of each reasonably earning family residing in the city was found to be Rs. 153/- per year for a period of five years, which converts to an annual recreational use value of city's urban forestry assets to Rs.  27.50 millions at 2002-03 prices. A sample size of 2358 residents of the city and Contingent Valuation Method (CVM) was used for arriving at above estimate.

Based on a sample size of 904 tourist families and Zonal travel cost method (TCM), the annual recreational use value of city's urban greenery on the part of tourists coming to the city, was estimated as Rs. 92.40 millions. Therefore, total annual recreational use value of city's parks/gardens, boulevards, green avenues, reserved forests, wild life sanctuary and other green landscape features on 2002-03 prices, comes out around Rs. 120.00 millions. This value suggests a keen potential role of urban greens in overall environmental conservation in polluted big cities and attractive power of urban forestry for developing tourism.

The above abstract pertains to Ph.D thesis of Dr. Pradeep Chaudhry ( on the topic 'Valuing recreational benefits of urban forestry- A case study of Chandigarh city awarded by FRI (deemed university), Dehradun during 2006.

Source: CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 91, NO. 11, 10 DECEMBER 2006 Contact person:Mr. Pradeep Chaudhary Silviculture Division, Arid Forest Research Institute, Jodhpur 342 005, India