The Impact of Deforestation on Nature-Based Recreation: Evidence from Citizen Science Data in Mexico

Wei Chen, Jon Einar Flatnes, Daniela A. Miteva and H. Allen Klaiber


We use citizen science eBird data to investigate the impact of deforestation on birdwatching across Mexico. Utilizing detailed data on individual trips reported to eBird, we construct annual count data on visits to 1,810 Mexican municipalities from 2008 to 2016 to examine how deforestation affects visitation patterns. We find that a municipality, experiencing an increase in deforestation equivalent to the average deforestation over our study period, would see birdwatching visits decrease by 4.4% per year. The results also provide an application of citizen science data using an underutilized source of information on economic behavior in an otherwise limited data environment.

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