Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Geography

Major Professor

Graham Tobin, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Kevin Archer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Steven Reader, Ph.D.

Keywords

Community Trees, Environmental Benefits, Environmental Economics, Tailored Design, Stated Preferences

Abstract

Urban forests provide environmental, social, and economic benefits to urban residents. These benefits are often overlooked when making spatial and financial distributive decisions in urban areas. The City of Tampa has demonstrated interest in its urban forest resource and estimated its extent and some of the benefits provided. Estimating economic values for benefits that have not been quantified can help to ensure that resources are distributed more efficiently. Five methods to estimate urban forest benefits in the City of Tampa are reviewed, with contingent valuation being the method chosen out of this review process. A mailed, dichotomous choice contingent valuation survey was executed with two points of contact, yielding 107 responses for a 21.4 percent response rate. Despite positively rating the City’s urban forest, the majority of respondents (62.6 percent) were willing to pay for it to increase. The Turnbull distribution-free estimator was used to estimate a lower bound of $3.23 for willingness to pay to increase Tampa’s urban forest resource by 250,000 trees. Willingness to pay was positively associated with income and education. The survey responses also yielded important attitudinal and behavioral information that can help local decision makers increase the efficiency of urban forest distribution, maintenance, and promotion.

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