Forest recreation use patterns, user behaviour and recreational value in Malaysia
The study is concerned with an examination of outdoor recreation at three forest recreation areas situated within and at the periphery of a large and major population region in Peninsular Malaysia. It was undertaken primarily to investigate the features that describe the use of these areas and to estimate the use-demand and quantification of consumers' surplus. Initially, a brief description of forest recreation in Peninsular Malaysia is presented. This is followed by a review of techniques for estimating consumers' surplus, after which it was concluded that an application of the travel cost method was appropriate for this study. An on-site questionnaire survey was used to gather a reasonable amount of user information. The questionnaire surveys carried out were found to be valuable; the information gathered facilitated the description and analysis of the areas' consumption, travel and use patterns and the behaviour of the users. Thus the surveys also provided information which was appropriate for the application of the travel cost technique. Subsequently, a detailed description of user behaviour is presented. Difficulties of the travel cost approach, were identified and addressed through the use of appropriate sample and extra-sample data. Particular attention was paid to the problems of multi-purpose trips, travel time bias and the influence of alternative sites on participation. Problems with functional forms and the weighting of points for the trip demand model were also given considerable attention. It is believed that the model selected in this study is an improvement on previously known models. The resulting estimates of consumers' surplus for the three areas are reasonably acceptable and conform to a priori expectations. Finally, the main conclusions of the thesis are highlighted and some aspects that have a bearing on planning and management issues are discussed along with brief recommendations for further and future research efforts.