Valuing the Recreational Uses of Pakistan's Wetlands: An Application of the Travel Cost Method
According Global 200, which scientifically ranks outstanding terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in 238 ecoregions worldwide, the Indus Ecoregion is one of the 40 priority Ecoregions. Keenjhar lake, Pakistan's largest freshwater lake and a Ramsar site, is located in the Lower Indus Basin of the Indus Ecoregion. This study applies a single-site truncated count data travel cost model in order to estimate the value visitors place on recreation in Keenjhar. We estimate the recreational use value associated with Keenjhar lake to be PKR 3.46 billion (or USD 42.2 million). This estimate is based on an annualized mean consumer surplus per visit of PKR 9,500 (or USD 116) and assumes average daily visits of 1,000. Changing the model specification reduces consumer surplus only by about 5%. Policy makers can use these estimates on the recreational value of the lake to assess the returns to conservation investments.