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Thesis

La valeur de la forêt pour la population locale : une analyse spatiale 

Supervisor of thesis : Dr. Serge GARCIA
Co-Supervisor of thesis : Dr. Jens ABILDTRUP



Abstract

The main objective of my thesis is to estimate the non-market values that forest goods and services provide to the local populations. In particular, my thesis addresses several recent issues in non-market valuation of forest. First, accounting for the preference heterogeneity for forest attributes, I estimate the impact of personal experiences on the choice certainty in the context of a choice experiment on forest recreation. Second, people’s preference for access to peri-urban forest from their residence may be heterogeneous and therefore influence their make residential choices. Meanwhile, other spatial aspects, such as access to urban parks and private gardens, may affect the willingness-to-pay (WTP) for access to peri-urban forest. Therefore, my thesis takes into account preference heterogeneity and the impact of substitutes in forest non-market valuation. Third, I estimate the impact of happiness on respondents’ preferences for access to forest in their residential choice. My thesis use discrete choice experiment to investigate people’s residential preferences via a face to face survey and by an online survey. I apply up-to-date econometric methods in the analysis of discrete choice models that are capable to estimate preference heterogeneity and scale. In chapter 2, I find that respondent’s choice certainty increases with the number of visits to forests, but it reduces with the number of different forests visited.  In chapter 3, I find that forest and its substitutes provide both direct use value (recreation) and indirect use value (scenic view). The preferences for peri-urban forest and urban parks are heterogeneous. Respondent’s WTP for being close to peri-urban forests depends on their recreational practice. Furthermore, the ownership of a private garden reduces the WTP for living closer to an urban park. In chapter 4, the main result is that happiness can be used to explain preference heterogeneity, i.e. people stating they are happy have stronger preferences for urban parks and peri-urban forest. However, unhappy people have stronger preference for view of green spaces.
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