Social media provide a wealth of behavioral data that can be used to investigate the provision of environmental services. In this study, the preferences revealed by photo-sharing social media users are analyzed through travel cost modeling to infer the monetary value of recreation in 115 man-made wetland ecosystems. Photographs’ metadata and other publicly available information are used to determine the frequency of recreational trips and the home location of visitors. The mean willingness to pay for access to 115 wetlands is found to range between $5.3 and $374 (2015 international $). The comparison of estimated recreational benefits with the capital, operation and maintenance costs of 74 wetlands reveals that such benefits are considerable and should be taken into account in the design and management of these systems. The approach demonstrates the potential for ecosystem service valuation techniques to incorporate the large amounts of behavioral data available from online resources.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Global and Planetary Change
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law