Wildlife-related Recreation Impacts on Rural Land Values

We conducted a survey to evaluate 2003-2008 sales of private rural lands in Mississippi that were purchased for wildlife-related recreational
uses. Land parcels purchased (n=800; totaling 102,611 ha) were predominately forested (45%), followed by agricultural lands (26%), early successional habitats and recently planted pine forests (25%), and other lands (>3%). Hunting (99%) and motorized vehicle use (65%) were common uses reported on properties. Wildlife-related recreation accounted for an estimated 34% (US$1,566/ha) of overall value of rural lands sold. Cover types such as forests, and amenities, such as lodging and roads, increased potential recreational use and prices paid for rural properties. We speculate that demand and prices
paid for managed, high-quality properties that support wildlife populations for recreational use will increase with time. To better estimate value of rural
lands with habitats supporting wildlife species, we recommend Extension-based training seminars on the topic of rural lands valuation for bankers and appraisers. Our findings can be used to better estimate in economic terms the ecological benefits that imperiled wildlife habitats provide on a rural land base, thereby strengthening environmental regulatory decision-making and land use planning.

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