A Method to Value Nature-related Webcam Viewing: the Value of Virtual Use with Application to Brown Bear Webcam Viewing

Short Description

Katmai brown bears16,000 natural resource remote web cameras provide users around the world with an opportunity to view wildlife. The web cameras are free to view, so we are left with evaluating viewer's opportunity cost of time to estimate the consumer surplus. This model is applied to a sample of 2,649 viewers selected from over 10 million viewers of Alaska's Katmai National Park and Prserve brown bear webcams. The resulting consumer surplus is about $11 per hours of viewing, and yields over $27 million in benefit when applied to the 2.42 million viewer hours. The aggregate webcam viewing value is more than twice the aggregate on-site viewing value in Katmai National Park and Presernve. This model can be applied to other nature-related webcams around the world.

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Most people know that the National Park Service cares for national parks, a network of nearly 400 natural, cultural and recreational sites across the nation. The treasures in this system -- the first of its kind in the world -- have been set aside by the American people to preserve, protect, and share, the legacies of this land.

Suggested Citation

John Loomis, Leslie Richardson, Chris Huber, Jeffrey Skibins & Ryan Sharp (2018) A method to value nature-related webcam viewing: the value of virtual use with application to brown bear webcam viewing, Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy, 7:4, 452-462, DOI: 10.1080/21606544.2018.1483842