Measuring Environmental Quality in the Southern Appalachian Mountains
This study presents a method for valuing recreational environmental quality in the forests of the southeastern United States. The paper offers a method for choosing, measuring, and valuing forest attributes. Surveys and popular recreation literature are used to identify forest attributes that contribute to recreational quality. Standard ecological techniques are employed to measure levels of these attributes along trails in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia. Finally, the paper demonstrates how hedonic methods can be used to assign values to forest attributes. We show that values for recreational quality vary across users and sites. Furthermore, we demonstrate the existence of negative marginal values for certain forest attributes and provide evidence that suggests these negative values are not the result of mis-specification, but are consistent with oversatiation.