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Open AccessArticle

Economic Value of Cultural Ecosystem Services from Recreation in Popa Mountain National Park, Myanmar: A Comparison of Two Rapid Valuation Techniques

1
Environmental Conservation Department, P.O. Box 30522, 000100 Naypyidaw, Myanmar
2
Department of International Studies, University of Tokyo, Chiba 277-0882, Japan
3
School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, University Road, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
4
Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK
5
Institute for Future Initiatives (IFI), University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8654, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Land 2019, 8(12), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8120194
Received: 14 November 2019 / Revised: 12 December 2019 / Accepted: 12 December 2019 / Published: 14 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring the Relationships between Land Use and Ecosystem Services)
Protected areas offer diverse ecosystem services, including cultural services related to recreation, which contribute manifold to human wellbeing and the economy. However, multiple pressures from other human activities often compromise ecosystem service delivery from protected areas. It is thus fundamental for effective management to understand the recreational values and visitor behaviors in such areas. This paper undertakes a rapid assessment of the economic value of cultural ecosystem services related to recreation in a national park in Myanmar using two valuation techniques, the individual travel cost method (TCM) and the Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-based Assessment (TESSA v.1.2). We focus on the Popa Mountain National Park, a protected area visited by approximately 800,000 domestic and 25,000 international tourists annually. Individual TCM estimates that each domestic visitor spent USD 20–24 per trip, and the total annual recreational value contributed by these visitors was estimated at USD 16.1–19.6 million (USD 916–1111 ha−1). TESSA estimated the annual recreational expenditure from domestic and international visitors at USD 15.1 million (USD 858 ha−1) and USD 5.04 million (USD 286 ha−1), respectively. Both methods may be employed as practical approaches to assess the recreational values of protected areas (and other land uses with recreational value), and they have rather complementary approaches. We recommend that both techniques be combined into a single survey protocol. View Full-Text
Keywords: cultural ecosystem services; eco-tourism; nature-based recreation; tourism; travel cost method; TESSA cultural ecosystem services; eco-tourism; nature-based recreation; tourism; travel cost method; TESSA
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Soe Zin, W.; Suzuki, A.; Peh, K. .-H.; Gasparatos, A. Economic Value of Cultural Ecosystem Services from Recreation in Popa Mountain National Park, Myanmar: A Comparison of Two Rapid Valuation Techniques. Land 2019, 8, 194.

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