Recreational value of regional forests: the case of Belgium’s Walloon region. Int. J. Sustainable Society 6(4), 319-335
The Walloon forest, which is geographically close to densely populated areas of Atlantic Europe, fulfils an important recreational function. Two surveys were set up, among which a large-scale statistical survey in 40 woodlands, distributed throughout the Walloon forest and resulting in over 4,000 questionnaires collected. These give information about the recreational activities carried out in the forest, which helps determine the unit value of visits. The regional value is based on the estimated number of visits annually for the total woodlands. Contingent valuation is used to estimate recreational values for this data set comprising the whole regional level with heterogeneous visits and comparisons with other methods and other hypotheses are undertaken. Although the valuation varies depending on the method and the application modalities selected, it is very large and confirms the importance of this non-benefit service and the weight it could carry in terms of regional forest policy.