Wildfire and the economic value of wilderness recreation
The idea that wildfires play an integral role in maintaining healthy forests has begun to change the ways that scientists, managers, and the general public view fire policy and programs. New approaches to forest management that seek to integrate natural disturbances with the provision of goods and services valued by people impose a greater need for a full accounting of the economic effects of wildfire (as well as other disturbances). In addition to the effects that forest fires have on commodities and assets that are traded in markets, such as timber and residential structures, fires also affect the condition and value of public goods that are not traded in markets, such as outdoor recreational sites. Understanding the economic consequences of wildfires on the provision and value of public goods requires the use of non-market valuation methods (Champ et al. 2003). The goal of this chapter is to demonstrate how wildfires affect the demand for, and value of, Wilderness recreational sites, which is illustrated using the travel cost method.