National scale mapping of supply and demand for recreational ecosystem services

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Hooftman, D. A., Ridding, L. E., Redhead, J. W. and Willcock, S. 2023. National scale mapping of supply and demand for recreational ecosystem services. Ecological Indicators. 154 (Oct), p. 110779.

AuthorsHooftman, D. A., Ridding, L. E., Redhead, J. W. and Willcock, S.

Cultural ecosystem services (CES) are often underrepresented in ecosystem service assessments, despite the importance of these benefits. Recreation is often used to represent CES, however identifying, quantifying, and mapping these services continues to be a challenge. In this study, we develop a national CES map predicting recreation demand (e.g. walking, hiking, cycling) for the United Kingdom (UK). Recreation demand is calculated as the number of projected visits for local recreation, estimated using the universal law of human mobility which accounts for the attractiveness of an area. Recreation demand was found to be the greatest in areas surrounding high population centres, compared with protected sites which were deemed more attractive but were in more remote areas. This pattern was most pronounced when evaluating weekly visits, but was still evident where the visit frequency was reduced to annual. In this study, we also evaluate whether this demand is met for recreation by assessing the presence of paths. The mean for met demand (paths present) was 4.5 times greater than unmet demand (paths absent) for yearly visits across the UK. Generally, in the areas of highest demand close to populated centres, paths were present, making 84% of all yearly recreational demand met by path infrastructure. However, paths are lacking from 42% of the UK, with some of these areas coinciding with higher recreation demand, for example in the northeast and parts of Wales. Our study therefore highlights not only where the recreation demand is highest and access should be maintained, but also where demand for recreation exists but the infrastructure including paths are not present, and therefore has the potential to be improved. This information is useful for policy makers and land managers, as it allows areas to be prioritised for the maintenance and improvement of recreation provision under new land management policy.

KeywordsAccessibility; Attractiveness; Cultural services; Paths; Protected areas; Travelling distance
Year of Publication2023
JournalEcological Indicators
Journal citation154 (Oct), p. 110779
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Web address (URL)
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Natural Environment Research Council
Funder project or codeAgZero+
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online16 Aug 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted04 Aug 2023
PublisherElsevier Science Bv

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