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Criterion 6 Indicator 43
Rationale
Non-consumptive use forest values, including social/cultural, recreational, and biological values.
 
Non-consumptive use forest values include a variety of social and cultural, recreational, and biological values. People value forests for many social and cultural reasons, including scenery, history, and the general quality of life derived from living near a forest. Forests provide recreational opportunities such as wildlife viewing, hiking, and camping. These activities are important to many Oregonians and visitors, and the expenditures associated with such activities contribute to Oregon’s economy.
Possibly the most important values provided by forests are biological. Forests "provide habitat for the insects and birds that pollinate crops and control disease-carrying and agricultural pests. Their canopies break the force of the winds and reduce rainfall’s impact on the ground, which lessens soil erosion. Their roots hold soil in place. Forests also act as effective water pumping and recycling machinery, helping to stabilize the local water supply and climate. Through photosynthesis, plants generate life-giving oxygen and hold vast amounts of carbon in storage, which stabilizes the global climate" (Abramovitz, 1997).

Can This Indicator Be Quantified
 
It is very difficult to quantify the value placed on forests for their scenery, wildlife, clean air, and other such values, as these are not "goods" that are sold in the marketplace. Different people may place very different values on these aspects of forests, and it may be impossible to express these values in terms of money. There have been a number of site-specific or region-specific studies done nationwide that attempt to quantify some of these values.
 
Currently, there are no widely accepted and agreed upon values for most non-consumptive forest values. In Oregon, the only available data on non-consumptive forest use values is data on wildlife viewing reported in the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.
 
The survey provides data on the numbers of people viewing wildlife and the expenditures associated with these activities. Wildlife viewing is often associated with Oregon’s forests. However, not all of the trips and expenditures listed in the survey occurred solely on forest land. Currently, there is no comprehensive data available on other non-consumptive activities such as hiking or picnicking.
 

Trends
Since the early 1990s, there has been an increase in the number of people viewing wildlife as a recreational activity in Oregon, especially in the number of people traveling away from home in order to view wildlife (Table 43-1). Total expenditures have also increased on the equipment and travel associated with these activities. However, the amount of spending per participant has decreased from $564 to $488, from 1991 to 1996. The fact that total expenditures have gone up, while per-person spending has gone down, is explained by the surge in the total number of people viewing wildlife. Another trend is that the spending for trip-related items has increased significantly, but money spent on equipment has gone up only slightly.
 
The increase in wildlife viewers is due to a greater numbers of visitors from outside the state. The number of Oregonians viewing wildlife has stayed about the same from 1991 to 1996. However, since the state’s population has grown in that time, the percentage of Oregonians viewing wildlife has decreased from 51 to 42 percent since 1991. Still, Oregon has had a greater percentage of its population involved in wildlife-associated recreation through the 1990s than most other states do.
 
Table 43-1. Wildlife watching in Oregon
 
Wildlife Watching in Oregon19911996
US Residents Participating in Oregon1,048,0001,367,000
Non-Residential408,000715,000
Residential972,000972,000
Expenditures$591,180,000$692,734,000
Trip-Related$179,301,000$261,852,000
Equipment and Other$411,878,000$430,881,000
Average Per Participant$564$488
% of Oregon Residents who Participated51%42%
 
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In general, as Oregon’s population has grown, demands have increased on the forests as sources of scenery, recreation, and quality of life. It is likely that the value placed on non-consumptive activities and values will increase as urban areas grow, and more people use the forests for such activities.

Data Source and Availability
 
Wildlife watching data for Oregon is available from the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation on a five-year basis. Data is not currently available for other non-consumptive values in Oregon. See Indicators #35 through #37 for more information on other kinds of non-consumptive forest recreation.
 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1991, 1996. National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.
 

Reliability of Data
   
The survey data is very reliable, can be compared with data for other states, and is consistent for 1991 and 1996. Earlier surveys used a different methodology, and therefore the 1991 and 1996 data cannot be directly compared to previous surveys.

Scale
 
Statewide on a five-year basis.

Recommended Action for Data Collection
 
Data should be collected on a statewide level for a wider variety of non-consumptive activities. The data should include activities such as hiking, camping, etc. An effort should also be made to develop methods to place values on other non-consumptive forest uses, such as biological diversity and species habitat.

Definitions
   
Expenditures — Money spent in 1991 or 1996 for wildlife-related recreation trips in Oregon or wildlife-related recreational equipment purchased in Oregon. Expenditures include money spent by participants for themselves, and the value of gifts they received.
 
Nonresidential activity — Trips or outings at least one mile from home for the primary purpose of observing, photographing, or feeding wildlife. Trips to zoos, circuses, aquariums, and museums are not included.
 
Participants — Individuals who engaged in a wildlife-watching activity.
 
Residential activity — Activity within one mile of home with a primary purpose that is wildlife-related. These activities include:
  1. closely observing or trying to identify birds or other wildlife;
  2. photographing wildlife;
  3. feeding birds or other wildlife on a regular basis;
  4. maintaining natural areas of at least one-quarter acre for which the primary purpose is benefit to wildlife;
  5. maintaining plantings for which the primary purpose is benefit to wildlife;
  6. visiting public parks within one mile of home for the purpose of observing, photographing, or feeding wildlife.
 
Trip — An outing involving wildlife-watching activities. In the context of this survey, a trip may begin from an individual’s principal residence or from another place, such as a vacation home or the home of a relative. A trip may last an hour, a day, or many days.
 
Wildlife — Animals such as birds, fish, insects, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles that are living in natural or wild environments. Wildlife does not include animals living in aquariums, zoos, and other artificial surroundings, or domestic animals such as farm animals or pets.
 
Wildlife-watching activity — An activity engaged in primarily for the purpose of feeding, photographing, or observing fish or other wildlife.
 

Selected References
   
Abramovitz, Janet M. 1997. Learning to value nature’s free services. The Futurist, July-August 1997, 31:4:p39(4).
 
Barr, Susan M., editor. 1993. Seeking common ground: proceedings from a forum on Pacific Northwest natural resources. Forum held in Tigard, OR, February 24-25, 1992.
 
Bowes and Krutilla. 1989. Multiple use management: the economics of public forestlands. Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C.
 
Davis and Johnson. 1987. Forest management. McGraw-Hill Book Company, San Francisco, CA.