Recreation & Tourism


Name Used: Recreation-Related Services

Service Category: Cultural Services

Definition: Recreation-related services are the ecosystem contributions, in particular through the biophysical characteristics and qualities of ecosystems, that enable people to use and enjoy the environment through direct, in-situ, physical and experiential interactions with the environment. This includes services to both locals and non-locals (i.e., visitors, including tourists). Recreation-related services may also be supplied to those undertaking recreational fishing and hunting. This is a final ecosystem service. Note: recreation is also mentioned in the Nursery population and habitat maintenance services and Visual amenity services classes.

See Valuation Methods Appendix for Economic Value, Valuation Methods, and Metrics.


Name Used: Physical & Experiential Interactions with Natural Environment

Service Category: Cultural

Definition: Physical and Experiential Interactions with Natural Environment refer to the various ways living and non-living elements of nature facilitate human activities focused on health, recuperation, or enjoyment. This includes characteristics of living systems that enable active or immersive interactions, as well as those that enable passive or observational interactions, each measured by the type of living system or environmental setting involved. Additionally, natural abiotic features that allow for both active and passive physical and experiential interactions are included, quantified by their types and amounts. These elements collectively enrich human well-being by providing opportunities for both physical engagement and mental restoration.

Economic Value Calculated: No

Valuation Methods: n/a

Metrics: included in definition

ESVD 2020

Name Used: Opportunities for recreation and tourism

Service Category: Cultural

Definition: Opportunities for recreation and tourism as categorized by TEEB in ESVD include Recreation, Tourism, Ecotourism, Hunting / fishing.

Economic Value Calculated: Yes

Valuation Methods: The ESVD 2020 report offers a total of 4,042 value estimates, with 850 specific to Opportunities for recreation and tourism. See the Valuation Methods Appendix.

Metrics: $/ha/yr; ESVD is working on other qualitative and quantitative metrics.


Name Used: Recreation/Tourism

Service Category: Information

Definition: Experiencing the natural world and enjoying outdoor activities

Economic Value Calculated: Yes

Valuation Methods: Travel Cost, Meta-Analysis, Market Price, Hedonic Price; Contingent Valuation; Replacement Cost; Choice Experiment


Forest: Rosenberger et al. (2017) analyzed the consumer surplus value of U.S. recreation using travel cost studies. The study used the U.S. Forest Service's National Visitor Use Monitoring Survey to find the annual number and length of recreational trips to National Forest lands. The total annual trips were then multiplied by the average trip length and the dollar per trip consumer surplus, then divided by the total acreage of USFS lands to get a dollar-per-acre value.

Coastal Wetlands: Johnston et al. (2002) and Hazen and Sawyer (2008) evaluated the value of outdoor recreation activities in different U.S. geographies using travel cost and survey methods. The former focused on the Peconic Estuary System, noting that bird and wildlife watching, and recreational fishing were the most valued. The latter found that visitors to Florida's Indian River Lagoon spent more time in activities like fin fishing and power boating. Various meta-analyses were used to perform function transfers to construct U.S.-specific values on the economic value of wetlands. Adusumilli's model had an adjusted R^2 of 0.753, Brander et al. had 0.45, Ghermandi et al. had 0.44, and Woodward and Wui's chosen model had an R^2 of 0.582. Model variables were adjusted according to a set of guidelines, such as denoting types of wetlands, describing recreational activities, and factoring in economic indicators like income and GDP per capita. The results were converted to 2021 USD per acre per year.

Inland Wetland: A function transfer method was applied to construct a U.S.-specific value for the economic value of wetlands, drawing from several meta-analyses. Model C, with an R^2 of 0.582, was selected for the function transfer. The model variables were set as follows: 1) freshwater or inland wetlands variables were set to 1, others to 0; 2) variables related to recreational activities were set to 1; 3) income per capita variables, if present, were set to the U.S. average household income and converted as needed; 4) wetland size was set to the average size of U.S. inland freshwater wetlands; 5) GDP per capita variables were converted to the current U.S. GDP per capita; 6) for the Woodward and Wui study, "publish" was set to 1 to reflect published values; 7) remaining variables were set to their mean. The dependent variables, given in various dollar years and units, were converted to 2021 USD per acre per year.

Urban Green Open Space: To improve the robustness of estimates for the recreation value of urban green open spaces, multiple methodologies were employed. First, U.S. values were used to estimate the meta-regression function presented in the comprehensive global contingent valuation literature review by Bockarjova et al. (2020). Secondly, Hanauer & Reid (2017) used an enhanced travel-cost method combined with detailed surveys and precise mapping techniques to assess the recreational value of urban open space. This multi-method approach aims to offer a more reliable and comprehensive understanding of the value of such spaces.

Rural Green Open Space: To estimate the monetary value of ecosystem services, particularly the recreation value of rural green open spaces, a mixed-method approach incorporating both stated and revealed preference methods is utilized. The first step involves using U.S. specific data to estimate the meta-regression function as provided by Bockarjova et al. (2020). This function itself is grounded in a comprehensive global review of the contingent valuation literature, a form of stated preference method. This combination of diverse methods aims to produce a more reliable and comprehensive valuation of rural green open spaces.

Riparian: In studies examining various U.S. locations, the economic value of riparian habitats was highlighted. Rein (1999) noted that controlling erosion and nutrient deposition in Elkhorn Slough enhanced ecotourism like kayaking and birding. Colby & Smith-Incer (2005) found that maintaining riparian habitats in a California birding area was crucial for sustaining visitor numbers and the local economy. Weber & Berrens (2006) quantified the value of desert riparian recreation in Arizona's Aravaipa Canyon, emphasizing its role as a critical bird habitat. Across these studies, the conservation of riparian areas was shown to have direct economic benefits through sustained or increased recreational opportunities.

Beaches and Dunes: In ecosystem service valuation, beach recreation has been rigorously studied. Various studies used a median value from seventeen different valuations to represent the U.S. context. The findings indicate that beach users value larger beach sizes but differ in how much they value this benefit based on their activities like fishing, boating, or swimming. People generally prefer wider beaches and are averse to armoring strategies like seawalls. Complementary services like safety measures, amenities, and water quality also significantly influence beach value and attendance. The studies used different metrics to report values, but Geographic Information Systems (GIS) were employed to regularize these into comparable units.

Shellfish Reefs: Studies on recreational angling over oyster reefs aim to quantify the willingness to pay either per household or per person. Oyster reefs serve as essential habitats for a variety of species, enhancing their recreational value. To calculate per-acre values, the $/household or $/person estimates were multiplied by the corresponding number of units, and the result was then divided by the study area. All figures were adjusted to 2021 USD.

Coral Reefs: Brander and van Beukering (2013) conducted a meta-analysis on the value of U.S. coral reefs and derived a generalized national estimate using a reduced model with an adjusted R^2 of 0.44. Key model variables included average GDP per capita in the U.S., regional average hectares of coral cover, and a focus on "all recreation activities." These were converted to 2021 USD per acre per year. Meanwhile, Van Beukering et al. (2011) focused on the U.S. Virgin Islands, using local economic data and tourist exit surveys. They applied the travel cost method to gauge consumer surplus from recreational tourism, and divided these annual values by the area of local coral reefs.


Name Used: Physical and psychological experiences

Service Category: Non-material NCP (Non-Material)

Definition: Provision, by landscapes, seascapes, habitats or organisms, of opportunities for physically and psychologically beneficial activities, healing, relaxation, recreation, leisure, tourism and aesthetic enjoyment based on the close contact with nature.

Economic Value Calculated: No

Valuation Methods: n/a

Metrics: Area of natural and traditional landscapes and seascapes

Name Used: Regulation of freshwater quantity, location and timing

Service Category: Regulating NCP (Regulation Of Environmental Processes)

Definition: Regulation, by ecosystems, of the quantity, location and timing of the flow of surface and groundwater used for drinking, irrigation, transport, hydropower, and as the support of non-material contributions. Regulation of flow to water-dependent natural habitats that in turn positively or negatively affect people downstream, including via flooding; wetlands including ponds, rivers, lakes, swamps. Modification of groundwater levels, which can ameliorate dryland salinization in unirrigated landscapes.

Economic Value Calculated: No

Valuation Methods: n/a

Metrics: Ecosystem impact on air-surface-ground water partitioning


Not classified in ENCORE as it is considered a Cultural Service.

TNFD Environmental Assets & Ecosystem Services



Name Used: Scenic Quality

Service Category: Visual and Scenic Quality

Definition: Assesses and values the visual quality of landscapes based on sited or planned features. The model produces viewshed maps and calculates the value of impacted visibility. It also allows for an evaluation of tradeoffs between nearshore and offshore developments and their visual impacts.

Economic Value Calculated: Partially, focuses more on qualitative valuation but can be adapted for more detailed economic valuation.

Valuation Methods: Number of "viewer days" per year, monetary value of change in scenic quality using valuation functions from peer-reviewed literature.

Metrics: Viewshed maps, topography and bathymetry, locations of offshore facilities, and locations of viewers like population centers or parks. Inputs can also include studies exploring the economic magnitude of visual disamenities.

Name Used: Recreation

Service Category: Recreation and Tourism

Definition: Quantifies the value of natural environments by predicting person-days of recreation based on natural habitats and features. It helps answer questions about relative visitation rates across landscapes, features influencing these rates, and how rates might change under different scenarios.

Economic Value Calculated: Yes, it predicts how future changes to natural features will alter visitation rates, impacting local and even national economies.

Valuation Methods: Simple linear regression to estimate the contribution of each attribute to visitation rate, geotagged photographs as proxies for actual visitation.

Metrics: Outputs maps showing current and future patterns of recreational use based on various scenarios. Uses photo-user-day estimates to predict future changes in visitation rates.

Swiss Re BES Index

Not listed as an ES category but does reference IPBES - NCP framework.

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