Biological Diversity Ecosystem Condition and Productivity Soil and Water Role in Global Ecological Cycles Economic and Social Benefits Society's Responsibility
Economic and Social Benefits Distribution of Benefits Sustainability of Benefits
Indicator 5.1.1 - Contribution of timber products to the gross domestic product Indicator 5.1.2 - Value of secondary manufacturing of timber products per volume harvested Indicator 5.1.3 - Production, consumption, imports, and exports of timber products Indicator 5.1.4 - Contribution of nontimber forest products and forest-based services to the gross domestic product Indicator 5.1.5 - Value of unmarketed nontimber forest products and forest-based services
Indicator 5.1.5 - Value of unmarketed nontimber forest products and forest-based services
supporting indicator

Canada's forests provide many nonmarket values that are important to Canadians. Some of these are recreational, passive (existence and bequest values), and societal (ecological, scientific, and educational values). It is difficult to assess these values because they are not traded in markets and are generally provided unpriced or provided at a price that does not reflect their true cost.

Current national information on the nonmarket value of forest products and services is therefore lacking. The previous C&I report (CCFM 2000) used information from the national survey The Importance of Nature to Canadians to report on the economic impact of the recreational use of Canada's forests (Environment Canada 1999). Since this information has yet to be updated, an analysis of national forest recreational use trends is not possible. Instead, this indicator is being reported through a case study of economic benefits associated with one type of nonmarket value, namely recreational use, associated with a limited number of protected areas in Ontario. The addition of passive use values and societal values to this study would increase, and more accurately reflect, the total benefit value. Still, the study illustrates the type of data that is helpful in assessing nonmarket values. Although it is difficult to assess passive use values and societal values, new methods are being developed and tested by economists. Further nonmarket valuation studies are needed to support this indicator.

CASE STUDY: Significant nonmarket benefits derived from protected areas in Ontario

Ontario's Living Legacy (OLL) is the result of Ontario's Lands for Life resource planning and public consultation on crown lands. OLL, which was announced in 1999 as a natural heritage protection program, created 378 new parks and protected areas totaling 2.4 million ha. Nine areas are of such unique natural heritage that they have been declared Signature Sites demanding protection. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources initiated a study to assess and estimate the value of the social and economic benefits associated with eight of the sites.

The total value associated with the sites was estimated at $35 130 000, approximately 29% of which was derived from nonmarket benefits. Nonmarket benefits were computed by determining the difference between the value that visitors associated with their experience and the actual expenditures to access the sites (Table 5.1c). This study, although limited to only a few sites in Ontario, suggests that forest areas provide substantial nonmarket benefits to Canadians that are not reflected in user expenditures alone.

Table 5.1c Benefits associated with Ontario's Living Legacy Signature Sites (millions $). (Source: Engel Consulting Group et al. 2003)
Signature sites Nonmarket

Killarney Provincial Park 3.26 5.36 8.62
Spanish River Valley 1.07 1.36 2.43
Kawartha Highlands 3.24 9.13 12.37
Algoma Headwaters 0.20 0.72 0.92
Nagagamisis Central Plateau Complex 0.96 1.46 2.42
Lake Nipigon Basin 0.18 0.97 1.15
St. Raphael 0.27 1.85 2.12
Woodland Caribou Provincial Park 0.87 4.83 5.70
Total 10.05 25.68 35.73
a Consumer surplus is the value users placed on their experience excluding their actual expenditures.

In addition to indicating the importance of forest recreation, the total economic value provides baseline data that can be used to assess net changes in benefits that are expected to be caused by changes in policy or management. Basic data on nonmarket values such as recreational use data (e.g., the number of visitors, their place of residence, and their activities at the site) need to continue to be collected to assess the total value of the forest resource.

This presents a major challenge because recreational use data for public lands is rarely collected, especially nationally, despite the recognized need for this information. Although even limited data can be useful in assessing trends, it will be essential to increase the effort devoted to periodic national studies of nonmarket values to better assess the overall value of forests in Canada.