This study aimed quantitatively to estimate the recent level of recognition of the public value of forests in Korea, to analyze the factors that affect their value, and to present implications. The average annual payment regarding the public value of forests estimated using the contingent valuation method was 234,170 won, broken down into 12 functionalities. The Tobit model was used to analyze demographic factors affecting the degree of willingness to pay, and the analysis showed that area of residence, age, marital status, occupation, household income, and visits to forest facilities all had statistically significant impacts on the degree of willingness to pay. Among these variables, living area (living in Seoul), marriage status (married), occupation (professional and office workers), and household income (more than the median income) were found to have a positive relationship with the degree of willingness to pay, while age and the number of visits to forest facilities were found to have a negative relationship. The implications are as follows: First, it is necessary to establish and implement policies to enhance positive perceptions of the various functions of forests and the legitimacy of protecting forest resources, considering that the public's valuation of various public functions provided by forests is directly related to changes in perception. Second, public evaluations of the public value of forests remain at a low level, meaning that education and promotions regarding the public value of forests need to be implemented and strengthened in the future. Finally, in order to form a consensus among people on the public functions of forests, customized promotions and educational events need to be implemented for non-Seoul residents, non-professionals, the unmarried, and for those who regularly visit forests.
Figures & Tables