W4133: Costs and Benefits of Natural Resources on Public and Private Lands: Management, Economic Valuation, and Integrated Decision-Making

(Multistate Research Project)

Status: Inactive/Terminating

W4133: Costs and Benefits of Natural Resources on Public and Private Lands: Management, Economic Valuation, and Integrated Decision-Making

Duration: 10/01/2017 to 09/30/2022

Administrative Advisor(s):

NIFA Reps:

Statement of Issues and Justification

Since its inception, W3133 has made substantive contributions to the theory and practice of valuation of ecosystem goods and services.  These values are essential inputs to decision-making that attempt to balance sustainable economic growth, environmental quality, and natural resource use and conservation to support a variety of (sometimes conflicting) societal needs. The USDA, through its support of W3133 objectives, is at the forefront in recognizing the need for the improvement of valuation methods, increasing the range of ecosystem service applications, and the development and testing of policy instruments that use valuation information in efforts to efficiently allocate non-marketed ecosystem goods and services.

Federal regulatory impact analyses use a benefit-cost analysis framework, which requires quantification of the monetary value of potential changes in ecosystem goods and services that result from economic activity and policies.  The need for valid and reliable economic estimates of ecosystem services continues to grow as management philosophies and people's demands for environmental quality change.  Federal land management agencies have adopted sustainable ecosystem management as a guiding principle, which requires information on the trade-offs among environmental, social, and economic aspects.  The objectives of this regional research project are designed to provide this type of information for ecosystem services that are not valued directly by markets, as needed by decision makers in the public and private sectors.

The next five years of the W4133 project will be a period in which ecosystem services on public and private lands will experience increased pressure from changes in direct and derived demand for public lands uses, as well as possible ecosystem changes from increased variation in extreme weather events, invasive species, altered wildfire regimes, and other natural hazards.  In addition, federal agencies will require solid research findings that delineate the economic values of ecosystem services that are not priced in the market, in order to face possible challenges to regulatory regimes originally designed to conserve ecosystem service values, such as generation of renewable energy and possible new listings under the Endangered Species Act.  At their core, many policy issues have values that are public good in nature and are therefore subject to market failure in a changing economic and political environment.  Public policy with regard to public land, water, air quality, and other natural assets continues to evolve using more efficient economic incentive mechanisms; the success of these mechanisms lies in the ability to measure the value of natural assets and ecosystem services under changing economic and natural environments.  The proposed objectives and sub-tasks for the W4133 project research over the next five years directly address these challenges.

Public and private agencies and institutions continue to express significant interest in the information provided through W3133. Stakeholders, such as the USDA Forest Service, the US EPA and the DOI Bureau of Land Management participate in workshops on economic and social analyses organized by W3133 members, and often request information on non-market valuation of wildlife and ecosystem goods and services. Stakeholder interest is directly evident from their frequent and extensive participation in W3133 annual meetings, including collaborators from the USDA Forest Service, USDA Economic Research Service, NOAA, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Bureau of Reclamation, US EPA, and private consultants, among others.  W3133 research helps shape planning and policies (USDA Forest Service Strategic Plan and Resource Planning Act values, NOAA type A damage assessments), and direct future grant solicitations (US Environmental Protection Agency, 2005).

Experiment Stations gain several advantages from participating in W3133, and the advantages will continue as W3133 becomes W4133.  W4133 will bring together experts from across the country while avoiding duplications of effort in the development, design, and application of statistical models and survey methods.  W4133 will continue to combine complementary specialized expertise at different experiment stations and federal agencies to leverage advancements in methods and applications, such as integrating quantitative methods with empirical applications.

The organizational infrastructure created by W3133 generates synergies in non-market valuation research, which would likely dissipate should this research project not be re-chartered.  Without a regional project, there will likely be duplication of research effort and fragmented gains in information due to limited resources at individual Experiment Stations.  Failure to conduct proposed research would leave many federal and state agencies without information needed to evaluate the economic effects of natural resource policies and management plans for public and private lands.


Proceedings from W3133 annual meetings, agency publications, and co-authored journal articles document the sustained collaboration of and contributions by participating Experiment Stations.  Advancements in theory and applications of environmental economics achieved by this project have built a sound foundation, which will enable important refinements and new empirical applications to be made by this group and other Experiment Stations and agencies over the next five years.  Given that many members of participating Experiment Stations have formal extension appointments and work closely with collaborators within and outside of W3133, broad dissemination of research results to varied stakeholders occurs through public and agency workshops and cooperative extension publications.

This regional research project creates and maintains human and network capital infrastructures that can rapidly respond to requests of local, state, and federal resource managers and policy makers, enabling the evaluation of emerging policy issues. Often similar management and policy issues arise in different states.  The ability of each Experiment Station's scientists to leverage the expertise of their fellow members in W3133 enables their rapid response to emerging issues through applications of the methods, survey instruments, and information originally developed by other W3133 members to address similar issues in their states.  The continuation of W4133 will continue to facilitate the groundbreaking research and multi-state collaborations supported by W3133 and previous charters. Note too, that state membership has grown in the past decade, which indicates increasing interest in policy-relevant non-market valuation and further expansion of the portfolio of researcher expertise.

Related, Current and Previous Work

The set of previous (October 2012-September 2017) W3133 focused on (1) Land and Water Resource Management in a Changing Environment, (2) Economic Valuation Methods, and (3) Integrated Ecosystem Services Valuation and Management. This section outlines accomplishments for each of these objectives and subtasks within each objective, and identifies continuities with the project re-charter proposal. 

Obj 1: Land and Water Resource Management in a Changing Environment

Task 1-1: Economic Analysis of Agriculture, Forest, and Rangeland Resources, Open Space, and WUI Zones

Task 1-2: Economic Analysis of Natural Hazards (fire, invasive species, climate change)

Obj 2: Economic Valuation Methods

Task 2-1: Advances in Stated/Revealed Preference Methods

Task 2-2: Advances in Benefit Transfer Methods

Task 2-3: Advances in Spatial/Environmental Nexus

Obj 3: Integrated Ecosystem Services Valuation and Management

Task 3-1: Economic Analysis of Ecosystem Services Flows

Task 3-2: Economic Analysis of Recreation Services

Task 3-3: Economic Analysis of Water Quality

Objective 1: Land and Water Resource Management in a Changing Environment

  • Task 1-1: Economic Analysis of Ag, Forest and Rangeland Resources, Open Space, and WUI Zones [IA, IL, MI, MN, ME, OR, PA, UT, VA, WA, WI]

Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Oregon State University contributed to Objective 1 with two themes of research. First, they wrote four papers on the economics of open space conservation. This research advances our understanding of how to fund open space conservation and accomplish it cost-effectively (Shah and Ando, 2016; Ando and Shah, 2016; Bode et al., 2015), how to choose conservation network sites to minimize the human cost of biodiversity conservation when human extraction behavior is endogenous and can create leakage (Bode et al., 2015), and what factors drive increased fragmentation of networks of protected open space (Albers et al., 2012). Second, they wrote five papers that developed tools for conservation planning in the face of potential damage from climate change and other hazards. One body of work develops tools for choosing spatial conservation portfolios to diversify climate-related uncertainty in future conservation outcomes across a landscape (Shah et al., accepted; Shah and Ando, 2015; Mallory and Ando, 2014; Ando and Mallory, 2012). Another paper produces guidelines for protected-area site selection when outcome risk (from factors such as fire and pest) is correlated across space (Hamaide et al., 2016).

In related work on land use, Maine researchers collaborated with the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station[1] and US EPA to conduct economic analyses of urban-rural land use dynamics, developed and forest land management and policy interactions, and open space protection programs. By developing new models of land conversion and forest management decision-making and advancing a novel integrated modeling approach to simulate landscape outcomes, these researchers improved understanding of interactive effects between land use, forest, and carbon offset policies and demonstrated the potential for carbon offset policies to reduce forest land loss to development (Latta et al., 2016).

Additional research of open space conversion in Maine, conducted in collaboration with municipal, state, and federal (US ACOE) government collaborators, informed ongoing efforts to improve vernal pool conservation in the Northeast (Freeman et al., 2012; Calhoun et al., 2014; Levesque et al., 2016). Spatial visualizations and statistical analyses of past land development in multiple Maine communities informed policy simulations of future development and vernal pool conservation scenarios, and helped support development of new cost-effective, incentive-based conservation approaches for these seasonal wetlands.

Work on land development was pursued in multi-state collaborations in Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Iowa State.  For example, economists at Oregon State, Penn State, and Wisconsin published an analysis examining how protected open-space affects the spatial structure of land development (Zipp et al., 2017). Economists at Oregon State also published a paper that estimates the effect of the Federal Northwest Forest Plan on community-level measures of economic growth in Oregon (Chen et al. 2016). Furthermore, Economists and natural scientists at Oregon State, Iowa State, Colorado State and Wisconsin published a series of papers examining the effects of decentralized governance and protected areas on timber extraction in European Russia using multiple periods of satellite imagery and econometric methods (Jones and Lewis 2015; Wendland et al., 2015; Wendland et al., 2014).

Several multi-state collaborations investigated the spatial implications of land-use change. Economists and natural scientists at Oregon State, Washington, Minnesota, Florida International, Wisconsin, Bowdoin, and UC Santa Barbara published a series of papers that project land-use change impacts under alternative economic and policy scenarios on terrestrial ecosystem services for the lower 48 states (Lawler et al., 2014; Martinuzzi et al., 2014; Beaudry et al., 2013; Martinuzzi et al., 2013; Hamilton et al., 2013; Radeloff et al., 2012). Economists at Oregon State also published a paper that examines the microeconomic foundation for land-use policies that provide spatially-dependent ecosystem services (Lewis and Wu 2015). Economists at Oregon State, Minnesota, UC Santa Barbara, and Bowdoin published a paper that shows how to optimally implement the provision of ecosystem services using an incentive-based mechanism under the common problems of spatial dependent environmental benefits and asymmetric information regarding landowner opportunity costs (Polasky et al., 2014). 

Research facilitated by W3133 also investigated the economics of land ownership in the Western US. Utah-based researchers examined public lands in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming (Jakus et al., forthcoming; Stambro et al., 2014). The study received widespread coverage in both regional and national newspapers. The public lands analysis found: (a) land ownership in the west is endogenous, (b) states can afford to manage transferred land only if commodity prices are high, (c) economic growth measures have an inverse-U-shape in federal land ownership and a U-shape in state land ownership, (d) state managed lands in counties with fossil fuel resources contribute more to wages and wage growth than federally managed land.

W3133 researchers also investigated the economics of water use across the U.S. The Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer is the third most used aquifer in the United States, and its sustainability is vital to maintaining long-term agricultural profitability in the Lower Mississippi River Basin.  Researchers at the University of Arkansas developed an integrated dynamic irrigated landscape model to predict how policy incentives and market forces affect irrigation and crop decisions, how resulting irrigation and crop changes affect the provision of groundwater quantity and surface water quality, and how this in turn affects future crop and irrigation decisions+.

In related work on water use, Virginia researchers showed how length of human residence in an arid urban environment affects water use, controlling for compliance with watering regulations and peer effects. They found that households increase water use after the first few years of moving in. The increase in water use has serious ramifications for long-term water demand projections, since the mix of newcomers and established households has changed dramatically in the arid west in recent years (Vinoles et.al, 2016). In complementary work, Virginia researchers showed the counter-productive effect of outdoor watering regulations – which actually increase weekly use for an arid urban environment. They also found that allowing for additional watering days and shifting of days across the week can substantially lower use (Castledien et. al, 2014).

W3133 collaborations also supported multi-state advances in Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) research on water issues. Researchers from the University of Nevada, Reno collaborated with Colorado State University on CGE grant work. Researchers were awarded a NIFA Grant in 2015 to develop computable general equilibrium models for inter-regional rural/exurban/urban counties to model effects of water transfers from rural to non-rural basins.  

Collaborators are also leading workshops to disseminate research findings resulting from W3133 collaborations. For example, Mississippi State researchers headed the organizing committee for the Land, Water, and Environmental Economics section of the AAEA’s upcoming workshop on “Water Resources & Policy: Exploring the Risks, Benefits, and Opportunities for Conservation” to be held in Washington, D.C., March, 2017. The workshop will “bring together representatives from academia, research organizations, government agencies, and congressional staff to discuss the current state of science, current knowledge gaps, and policy constraints.”

  • Task 1-2: Economic Analysis of Natural Hazards (fire, invasive species, climate change) [AZ, ME, NV, OR, UT, VA ]

Maine researchers completed several analyses of land and water resource management approaches to better understand how economics and other forms of scientific research were improving public and private decision-making in the face of various forms of disturbance and environmental change; the results of these analyses suggest interdisciplinary, collaborative research has great potential to increase the accessibility and impact of valuation and management research, and to strengthen university-stakeholder partnerships (Johnson, E. et al., 2016; Hart et al., 2015; Calhoun et al., 2014; Bell et al., 2013; Hart and Bell, 2013). In related work, economists at Oregon State, UC Santa Barbara, and USDA ERS published an analysis of how urbanization affects water withdrawals in the face of population growth and climatic change (Bigelow et al., 2017).

Virginia researchers estimated the loss in home values due to Mountain Pine Beetle infested trees in the Colorado Front Range (Cohen et al., 2016). They showed how these losses affect the property tax base of WUI communities (with USFS Southern Research Station). Researchers from Virginia Tech and Utah State were the first to show the per-acre-burned effect of wildfire smoke on inpatient health costs, further distinguished by fire distance and fuel type (Moeltner et al., 2013). This suggests a prioritization of pre-emptive measures in fire-prone forests located upwind of large population hubs.

In additional work on wildfires, University of Nevada, Reno researchers collaborated with Northern Arizona University and the US Forest Service to investigate economics of fuel treatments and ecological restoration at multiple spatial scales (Kim et al, 2013).  The work was funded by the BLM through the Joint Fire Sciences Program. Other work on wildfires estimated the benefits of restoration, including improved watershed services. Researchers from Northern Arizona University investigated willingness to pay for watershed services following forest restoration via collaborations with the City of Flagstaff (Mueller et. al, 2013; Mueller, 2014).

Objective 2: Economic Valuation Methods


  • Task 2-1: Advances in Stated/Revealed Preference Methods, [IL, ME, NV, VA, WY]

Several multi-state collaborations contributed to Objective 2. Dissanayake and Ando (2014) in Maine and Illinois provided the first stated preference estimates of the values of restored grasslands, and explored the importance of interactions between attributes. Cadavid and Ando (2013) provided rare estimates of the non-use value of aquatic habitat improvement from urban stormwater management, and identified the role of status quo conditions in individual values. In a collaboration with scholars from Illinois, California, and Wyoming, Letourneau et al. (2015) demonstrated how to use an economic surplus method to estimate the value of environmental goods such as biodiversity of natural enemies for crop pest control.  In related work, economists at Oregon State and Wisconsin published a pair of stated preference analyses which quantify shoreline property owners and boaters’ willingness to pay to prevent aquatic species invasions on Wisconsin lakes (Lewis et al., 2015, Provencher et al., 2012).

In a multi-state collaboration, researchers from VA Tech and UNR proposed a new estimator for multiple-bounded dichotomous choice (MBDC) data that does not rely on the strict and often unreasonable assumptions made in existing MBDC models. They showed that existing methods can be seriously biased if correlation patterns across bid choices are ignored (Kobayashi et al., 2012).

  • Task 2-2: Advances in Benefit Transfer Methods [OR, VA]

In two related papers, researchers from VA Tech and Oregon State collaborated to show that large efficiency gains in Benefit Transfer (BT) can be achieved by combining secondary data across recreation contexts and welfare constructs. This raises serious doubts as to the validity and practical usefulness of existing “golden rules” in BT. This research was foundational, and will inform pragmatic efforts at valuation across the country (Moeltner and Rosenberger, 2014).

  • Task 2-3: Advances in Spatial/Environmental Nexus [ME, UT]

Maine research suggested scenario and policy narratives imbedded within survey questionnaires to describe the nature, magnitude, and spatial distribution of future outcomes influence respondent attitudes and perceptions of self-efficacy at confronting change (Johnson, M. et al., 2016). These results pointed to the need for thorough testing of scenario narratives when conducting valuation studies and designing survey questionnaires. Utah researchers applied spatial modeling techniques to high-density, high-rise apartment dwellers (Liu and Jakus, 2015). The spatial weight matrix was specified to incorporate a vertical dimension. Analysis suggested the superiority of the 3-D weight matrix over the conventional two-dimensional weight matrix.  

Objective 3: Integrated Ecosystem Services Valuation and Management

  • Task 3-1: Economic Analysis of Ecosystem Services Flows [ME]

Maine researchers contributed to a national study of community development trajectories and ecosystem service flows in rural forested communities in the US (Morzillo et al., 2015); this initial synthesis research guided the development of a conceptual framework that is now being tested empirically with USDA funding. Improved classification or groupings of rural communities based on economic, social, and ecological factors may facilitate policy innovation for ecosystem service provisioning and support better targeting of instruments and approaches for assessing and providing ecosystem service flows. 

  • Task 3-2: Economic Analysis of Recreation Services [IA, ME]

Valuation of ecosystem goods and services is essential for informing efficient and effective public policy with regard to public land, water resources, air quality, and many other natural assets. However, estimating benefits of these nonmarket goods and services remains challenging. Over the past several years, progress has been made on advancing the theoretical underpinnings and empirical methodologies used to measure these benefits. This work includes advancements in econometric models when only partial information on recreation sites is available, testing the consistency of consumer preferences over time, modeling recreational demand when access points are unknown, and testing the stability of different measures of water quality in recreational demand models. Iowa researchers developed a new survey on recreational visits and water quality at 130 lakes within the state of Iowa. These data play a critical role in advancing our knowledge of the value society places on clean water (Keeler et al., 2015).

  • Task 3-3: Economic Analysis of Water Quality [CO, IA, ME, UT, WY]

Collaborative work conducted by Maine researchers and Maine CDC examined the effectiveness of Maine’s methylmercury fish consumption advisories in terms of improving knowledge. The results suggest the advisory successfully increased women's knowledge of both the benefits and risks of consuming fish while pregnant; advisory readers’ increased ability to make specific substitutions to minimize risk while maintaining the benefits of fish-eating suggests the advisory has the potential to reduce health risks while avoiding reductions in fish consumption (Engelberth et al., 2013). Maine researchers also collaborated with Maine CDC to identify opportunities for addressing concerns about limited testing of drinking waters from private wells. Strong seasonal patterns in household well testing and increased testing in response to accessible, home-owner based newspaper content create opportunities to improve the timing and structure of communications and other interventions.   In other related work on water quality, Maine researchers explored the impact of temporary water quality pollution closures on the commercial harvest of soft-shell clams in the Machias Bay region of Maine. Regression results indicate economic losses from such water pollution closures are significant and depend heavily on tidal activity, and the size, frequency, and timing of closures (Evans et al., 2016). By strategically reducing pollution, managers could limit public health risks, avoid destabilizing harvesting and revenue, and bolster the resilience of fishing communities. In addition, Maine researchers, in collaboration with Maine lake associations, lake-oriented non-government organizations, and state agencies, examined the effectiveness of private lake associations as a means to maintain or improve water quality. Statistical analyses of the distribution of lake associations confirm correlations among social and ecological characteristics and the presence/absence of lake associations. Findings suggest private lake associations act as complements to state management and regulatory efforts (Snell et al., 2013).

Efforts to advance our understanding of the value society places on clean water is critical to informing effective and efficient environmental policies. Advancements in economic valuation methods (Objective 2) over the past several years has improved our ability to develop integrated assessment models that analyze the important tradeoffs of costly pollution control efforts and benefits to humans and the environment (Objective 3). In particular, progress has been made by Iowa State researchers to develop integrated assessment models of the Upper Mississippi and Ohio-Tennessee River Basins that explore how land use practices and land management affect downstream users of water resources (Jeon et al., 2015).

A multi-state group of researchers from Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado completed a nutrient study and testified before Utah Water Quality Board and at an interim session of the Utah Legislature.  The nutrient study results are being used by the Utah Division of Water Quality (DWQ) in its ongoing development of numeric nutrient criteria to satisfy EPA standards. A site-specific economic valuation tool was developed to allow DWQ to identify, for specific reductions in nutrients, which water bodies have the greatest marginal benefit of nutrient reductions. The economic value of a nutrient reduction program for the state was estimated (Nelson et al., 2015) A drinking water study examined household demand for drinking water in Jordan, where drinking water varied by quality and availability (Coulibaly et al. 2014) The demand system model showed that the demand for water from any given source is more elastic than previous studies that have modeled only one source of water. 

[1] Unofficial collaborators with W3133 member institution are identified with italics.


  1. Resource Management
    Comments: Task 1-1: Economic Analysis of Forests, Agricultural Land, Water, Open Space and the Wildland-Urban Interface Task 1-2: Economic Analysis of Natural and Man-made Hazards Task 1-3: Economic Analysis of Recreation Services Task 1-4: Economic Analysis of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation
  2. Economic Valuation
    Comments: Task 2-1: Advances in Stated/Revealed Preference Research Task 2-2: Advances in Spatial/Environmental Nexus Task 2-3: Benefit Transfer Methodology
  3. Integrated Policy and Decision-Making
    Comments: Task 3:1: Decision Tools for Ecosystem Services Task 3:2: Watershed-scale Valuation and Management


Objective 1: Resource Management  

Changing global and regional markets, demographic change, and climate change create a challenging context for leaders, communities, and households to make informed decisions about land, forest, and water resource management, safe and healthy recreation, and rural community development. The proposed research strives to improve support of federal, state, and local public decision-makers and private landowners, households, and recreationists. By helping these public and private actors negotiate this challenging context, the proposed work aims to facilitate both economic growth and resilient land, water, and forest systems. Colleagues from several states will conduct economic analyses of land and water resource management policies and individual/household land, water, and recreation decisions to improve natural resource management.

  • Task 1-1: Economic Analysis ofForests, Agricultural Land, Water, Open Space and the Wildland-Urban Interface [CO, LA, MS, NC, NV, RI, WY]

Researchers in several states will carry out complementary and collaborative research on water resources quantity and quality. Roger Von Haefen of NC State will conduct research on residential water demand in North Carolina (joint with Marwa Salem at RTI International). In a collaborative project between Rhode Island, Vermont, and Delaware involving behavioral change and water quality, researchers will employ laboratory and field experiments to examine the role of normative and financial incentives in changing the public's behavior related to water quality. Finally, CSU is working on a dynamic hydro-economic model of sub-regions overlaying the Ogallala Aquifer as part of a NIFA funded CAP (OWCAP).  This interdisciplinary effort includes engineers, agronomists, economists, and extension agents from CSU, University of NE, KSU, OSU, Texas A&M, and New Mexico State.  The goal is to use integrated modeling to inform policy decisions and on-farm water management.

Several W4133 researchers will help each other to study issues in forest management. Collaborating with national (USDA,  USFS) and regional government agencies, Maine researchers will conduct economic analyses to help guide private forest landowners through complex and uncertain resource management decisions. This research will include focused analysis and support of the Northeast’s aging private forest land owners. Better understanding and anticipation of the decision-making of these owners will provide critical information about forested lands to regional natural resource managers and extension staff. Also, researchers from the University of Rhode Island and Louisiana will engage in a project involving mangrove ecosystem services and poverty, examine the tradeoffs among ecosystem services from mangrove forests and interactions with poverty in the context of rural coastal communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Several sets of researchers in Colorado, Nevada, Wyoming, and Louisiana will work on cross-cutting research to study land and water resources’ the W4133 network will provide all of them with a community of co-authors and research support for this work. CSU, along with UNRis working to develop local general equilibrium models that incorporate water, in order to examine the economy-wide impacts of population growth and competition for scarce land and water.  Our focus is on direct and indirect impacts in both urban and rural areas. CSU is also currently working on a model of participation in land retirement programs currently used to conserve water in Eastern Colorado (CREP).

Wyoming intends to follow-up on the impact of rural development on public services provision and ecosystem services related to open space (Lieske et al., 2015). The scale will be extended from county to state and regional level. Other public services including law enforcement will be evaluated. It is intended to develop insights as per sustainable rural development and developments. Wyoming also intends to continue investigating mechanisms for open space conservation, in particular Conservation Easements (Bastian et al., 2017). This will shed light on different Conservation Easement features that are mutually agreeable to buyers and sellers alike. Wyoming will continue to work with several researchers at both Colorado State University and Memorial University Newfoundland Canada.


Demand for dedicated dredging in U.S. waters has more than doubled in the past decade, with particular growth in coastal Louisiana, where an estimated 90 million cubic yards of sediment will be needed for barrier shoreline and wetland restoration over the next 50 years. Sediment acquisition for these projects is typically restricted to two primary sources: nearshore materials of limited quantity and quality, and federally-managed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) inputs of potentially higher quality and costs. Economic trade-offs between these source types have yet to be systematically analyzed, but are expected to be project- and location-specific, and influenced by a wide range of constraints related to geomorphic characteristics, technological limitations, seasonal risks, and environmental policy. A Benefit-Cost Analysis of Offshore Sand for Coastal Restoration research project at Mississippi State characterizes these constraints and integrates them into a comparative geophysical and economic framework useful for estimating the costs incurred, and the ecosystem services derived, from projects relying on these two source materials. Quantifying the quality and value of OCS sand for coastal restoration and nourishment projects relative to alternative sources is important for BOEM and federal, state, and local stakeholders and will help to improve the economic efficiency and environmental sustainability of these projects in terms of project effectiveness, lifespan, cost, and contribution to system functioning as a whole.

  • Task 1-2: Economic Analysis of Naturaland Man-made Hazards [AZ, GA, IL, ME, MI, MS, NC, OR, UT, WY]

Research under this task will develop knowledge and tools related to valuation, communication and risk management that will be broadly applicable, but the research will be carried out in three applied contexts.

The first set of research will study hazards associated with contaminated water. To further knowledge of household decision-making regarding drinking and recreational waters, Maine researchers will conduct economic analyses of health risks posed by contaminated drinking water, shellfish, and coastal waters (e.g., beaches). Working with collaborators from NOAA, US EPA, CDC, and state agencies, this research strives to support improved communication, education, and policy programs and decision-support tools related to natural and man-made hazards. NC State and Michigan State, along with NOAA collaborators will conduct research on the recreational natural resource damages arising from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, the largest oil spill in the history of US waters  

Several other projects will study erosion and flood damage in coastal and riverine areas. Flood events are expected to increase in frequency and severity as climate change progresses; the only way to remove homes from flood prone areas to permit climate adaptation efforts is through homeowner buyout programs, but little research exists to inform policies to facilitate timely and strategic buyouts. Illinois will (in consultation with FEMA) use a contingent valuation survey to evaluate homeowner willingness to pay for a novel pre-flood agreement such that the homeowner pre-commits to relocating if a flood damages their home by more than 50% of its value, in exchange for which they gain an expedited and streamlined buyout process with payment equal to the full market value of their home. Illinois researchers will also collaborate with researchers in Portland, Oregon to study how changes in flood insurance premiums affected foreclosure rates in urban flood-prone areas. Oregon State colleagues are conducting hedonic analysis of the effects of coastal protection investments on shoreline property values for the Oregon coast. This work focuses on how investments in protecting shoreline property from erosion capitalize into coastal land values.  Related work uses econometric methods to estimate coastal landowner decisions to invest in protective infrastructure, and to then couple the infrastructure investment model with geomorphic models on beach quality. Finally, a major economic analysis of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) by researchers at Mississippi State University, East Carolina University, and University of Georgia focuses on applying econometric methods to analyze the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  There are two major tasks involved:  the first focuses on the effect of the Community Rating System (CRS) on NFIP participation and NFIP damage claims.  The CRS was created to encourage flood mitigation at the community level and NFIP participation at the household level.  The second focuses on the interactions between flood mitigation behavior and insurance purchase at the household level, and whether homeowners perceive these as substitutes or complements in mitigating flood risk.


A third body of work will optimal management of fire risk in the West. Wyoming intends to follow-up on the federal cost of fire suppression (Clark et al., 2016) by further delineating important spatial considerations for mitigation. This is intended to demonstrate development patterns less costly to defend leading to more fire prevention and less suppression. Researchers at Northern Arizona University are working on a hedonic property model to estimate the impacts of post-wildfire flooding on house prices in Northern Arizona. The 2010 Schultz wildfire resulted in landscape changes and devastating post-wildfire flooding in areas without any historical record of floods. The results will be presented to the City of Flagstaff and other regional constituents to help inform the Four Forest Restoration Initiative. Utah State will examine the economic consequences of wildfire on grazing and National Park recreation resources in the red rock regions of southern Utah and northern Arizona.

  • Task 1-3: Economic Analysis of Recreation Services[CO, IL, NC, OR]

NC State and Oregon State will conduct research on the likely economic impacts of climate change on coastal recreational fishing in the eastern and gulf coast regions of the United States. Another set of W4133 projects will fill a gap left by the fact that most research on the recreational values of protected natural areas has neglected the values of natural areas in urban environments, and has focused on generating total or median household values rather than exploring how benefits are distributed among racial, ethnic, and socio-economic sub-groups of society. Researchers at Illinois will collaborate with other W4133 colleagues on this effort. One project will collaborate with researchers in Michigan to estimate the factors that influence values of beaches in Chicago and along less urban stretches of Lake Michigan and how those values vary among people of varied racial, ethnic, and income groups. A second project will study how race and access to transportation affect the recreational value a person places on the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. A third project will work with researchers in Oregon and Colorado to carry out a meta-analysis of the extensive literature on recreation services to look for patterns in how the value people place on such services varies with race.

  • Task 1-4:Economic Analysis of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation [CO, IL, MN, OH, OR]

Oregon State is developing multiple "Ricardian" analyses of the effects of climate on the net economic returns to private forestland.  The Ricardian method has been used extensively to understand the economic impacts of climate change on agriculture, but the method has yet to be applied to forestry.  One project uses observed sales price data for private forestland in Oregon, exploiting the significant cross-sectional variation in climate across Oregon to examine the effects of climate on forest land prices.  A second project constructs county-level net returns to forestry across the conterminous U.S. and then estimates the effects of climate on forestry returns.  The estimated models from both projects will then be used to analyze the effects of changes in climate on forest land prices and net returns.

Then several sets of researchers on the team will tackle complementary facets of climate change adaptation. First, researchers at Illinois will lead study of adaptation of conservation planning to accommodate climate change. Uncertainty from sources like climate change makes it difficult to use conventional site-selection tools for conservation and other kinds of resource investments using historical information about the current spatial distributions of species and other targets of protection or investment. Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) has been adapted from finance to characterize optimal spatial targeting of conservation investment to reduce outcome risk with the smallest possible reduction in the expected level of ecological benefits. Researchers at Illinois will work with researchers from Minnesota on research that expands spatial MPT analysis to allow (1) optimization over multiple distinct environmental targets, and (2) interactions between parcels in the landscape in production of ecosystem services. Second, Colorado State is currently working with UC-Davis researchers to examine direct and indirect impacts of agricultural adaptation and market integration in a context of climate change. Third, Oregon State is working with multi-state collaborator Ohio State to conduct empirical analysis of climate change adaptation within the forestry sector.  Applications are focused on the west coast and a nationwide analysis.  Oregon State researchers are developing a plot-level econometric analysis of adaptation to climate change through private forest management – adjustments in harvest timing and intensity, and through selecting tree species to regenerate.  They use data from the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) project as the source of plot-level forest management data.  They exploit variation in both climate and timber management choices as the basis for empirical analysis, which is based on the idea that a landowner will optimally adapt to their given climate through selection of harvest and regeneration strategies.  Oregon State researchers propose to estimate the effects of a set of drivers of a landowner’s forest management choices, including timber prices, yields, harvest costs, site productivity, and climate.  They also jointly estimate forest management choices along with the likelihood of natural disturbance in a manner that allows management choices to be endogenous with natural disturbance risk.  Estimated plot-level forest management probabilities provide the basis for a landscape simulation of the effects of climate change on the composition of forest types across the U.S. forested landscape.  The end product of our analysis will include maps of forested land cover and habitat over time as a function of private adaptation behavior by U.S. forest landowners under multiple climate change and carbon price scenarios. 

Objective 2: Economic Valuation   

This multistate Hatch research group is known for ongoing important contributions to the practice of non-market valuation. Such research grows in importance as demands rise for dollar value justifications for environmental investments.  

  • Task 2-1:Advances in Stated/Revealed Preference Research [CO, IL, IA, MI, NC, OR]

The community of researchers in this task will generate knowledge about fundamental methods and issues in valuation research with applications to important non-market goods such as water quality, open space, outdoor recreation, and threatened species.

Economists have long insisted that WTP for improvements in environmental quality are separable from the actions taken to accomplish those improvements. However, when the costs and limitation required for improvement in, for example, water quality, are borne disproportionately by people in a particular area or occupation, the value people have for the improvement itself may be affected. Researchers in Illinois and Missouri will work to estimate how an individual’s WTP for water quality improvements in a watershed in Illinois is affected by their proximity to the area where landscape changes are implemented to accomplish the change and by their affiliation with farming, the affected economic sector.

Several researchers have used detailed vote data from conservation referenda to estimate WTP for conservation, but that approach limits the scale of analysis that is possible. Researchers at Illinois will make novel use of the Trust for Public Land data set on conservation referenda in a metaphorical choice experiment analysis to estimate what communities reveal themselves WTP for a range of conservation types across the U.S.

Iowa State will continue research that examines the robustness of water quality benefit estimates to different measures of water quality (e.g., indices and individual parameters) and expand this work to explore how stable these estimates are over time and space. Furthermore, they will continue research that is developing the theoretical and empirical underpinnings necessary to use social media data in environmental valuation studies.

North Carolina State, Michigan State and NOAA will develop methods for dealing with recreational data collected on-site.  The team will also explore the role of unobserved heterogeneity in recreation demand models  and the prediction properties of recreation demand models that control for unobserved heterogeneity (joint with Ohio State).

Colorado State is using survey methods to value groundwater conservation beyond profit benefits.  They are working with Kansas State to formulate WTP questions that allow for integration with profit maximization producer models.

Oregon State is developing two stated preference analyses of the non-market benefits arising from investing in coastal natural infrastructure along the Oregon coast.  First, they are developing a choice experiment to quantify the public's willingness-to-pay for restoration of threatened coho salmon on the Oregon Coast, including population levels and speed of recovery.  Second, they are developing a choice experiment to quantify the public's willingness-to-pay for ecosystem services that arise from beach restoration activities, including the threatened Western Snowy Plover and the Streak Horned Lark.  Results will be used in integrated analysis of efficient natural infrastructure investment.

  • Task 2-2: Advances in Spatial/Environmental Nexus[LA, MS, NC, OR, PA, WI]

Several W4133 projects will tackle the spatial complexity inherent in many problems of environmental valuation and management.

North Carolina and Oregon State will estimate how coastal recreational fishing benefits vary across time and space.  This has implications for Task 2-3 as well.

Joint with colleagues from other states, Maine researchers will conduct research to assess the potential for new data streams, including big and small data, to improve economic valuation methods and benefit transfer approaches used by public agencies. The emergence of big data and new methods for data generation, analysis, and exchange present opportunities for novel advances in valuation and policy/program evaluation, especially with respect to the spatial/environmental nexus. Working collaboratively with federal and state government agencies, Maine researchers will examine the sensitivity of valuation results to alternative combinations of supporting data and specifications of spatial/environmental interactions.

Oregon State, (Penn State, and Wisconsin are developing an integrated spatial simulation of the spread of aquatic invasive species across a large lake system in northern Wisconsin.  The project develops a new boater recreation demand model of boater movement, and links the model with ecological models of invasive species survival to forecast invasive species spread.  The project integrates with prior welfare estimates of the damages from invasive species on shoreline property owners and boaters to quantify the external costs associated with invasive species spread.

The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) is a coordinated system of ocean observations data along the Gulf Coast, which includes data collected via ocean buoys, satellites, underwater gliders, and other monitoring stations.  These data are collected by federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as public and private universities and other institutions.  The GCOOS is part of the larger Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS).  A buildout (i.e., an expansion) of the GCOOS has been proposed that would enhance the quality, quantity, type, and geographical coverage of data collected and end-user information products provided.  Given the cost of the buildout, it is the objective of this project to derive an estimate of the corresponding benefits.  To do so, multiple stated-preference surveys are being designed to elicit contingent-valuation responses from a representative panel of information users by researchers from Mississippi State and Louisiana State.  Three of the end-user products chosen are an expanded beach conditions monitoring program, an improved coastal-marine forecast, and an improved hurricane forecast. From a methodological standpoint, alternative payment vehicles -- a tax collected on federal income tax returns versus an onsite user fee -- will be tested for their effects on responses and welfare estimates. 

  • Task 2-3: Benefit Transfer Methodology [AZ, CO]

Northern Arizona University is collaborating with researchers at USGS in Fort Collins, Colorado to contribute to a large-scale estimation of the value of forest restoration in the Santa Fe watershed in Santa Fe, NM. The research plans to incorporate several previous studies on forest restoration using Benefits Transfer.  

Objective 3: Integrated Policy and Decision-Making

Researchers in the W4133 group will contribute to growing knowledge at the intersection of valuation, policy, and management.

  • Task 3-1: Decision Tools forEcosystem Services [IA, MS, NC, TN]

Iowa State will continue development of an integrated assessment model of the Upper Mississippi and Ohio-Tennessee watersheds. This model links land uses at a fine spatial scale to a hydrologic routing model that describes the transport and fate of pollutants such as nutrients and sediment. This model then links these pollutants to estimates of benefits of changes in ambient water quality concentrations. By comparing these benefits to costs of control, this integrated assessment model will help local, state, and federal policy makers improve the efficiency and effectiveness of water quality and land use policies.

Researchers at NC State and RTI International will estimate the benefits of watershed-wide water quality benefits in wadeable streams in urbanizing watersheds.  This research is funded by an EPA Star grant.

Changes in land use are known to impact biodiversity and ecosystem services through the loss, modification, and fragmentation of habitats, degradation of soil and water, and overexploitation of native species. Incentive payments for promoting a range of ecosystem services have the potential to counter these land use changes. Much attention has focused on enhancing forest-based biodiversity and ecosystem services through incentive payments to landowners to prevent deforestation and encourage afforestation. Incentive payment programs tend to be controversial due to what are often uncomfortably high levels of uncertainty about their benefits and costs. Incentive payment programs developed from historic estimates of the amount of biodiversity and ecosystem services that ignore future uncertainty in these estimates may incorrectly assess conservation benefits and costs. Researchers at the University of Tennessee plan to develop a project using the research on developing a framework for the cost effective design of conservation subsidies that optimizes risk-reward trade-offs in the presence of multiple interacting types of uncertainty (e.g., uncertainties induced by climate shifts and market fluctuations). If the project is granted, with the partnership of USDA NIFA, Tennessee will develop a framework for the cost effective design of conservation subsidies that optimizes risk-reward trade-offs in the presence of multiple interacting types of uncertainty over 10 states in the central and southern Appalachian region. The innovative framework will promote the sustainability of agricultural and forest lands by encouraging policymakers to incorporate multiple uncertainties that affect the conservation benefits and costs when designing conservation subsidy programs.

A multi-state collaboration with Mississippi State University, Auburn University, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources endeavors to design, test, and implement a decision tool that optimizes the portfolio of oyster-based resources within the State of Mississippi, as a template for other natural resource agencies and private oyster lease managers. The proposed decision tool relies on the assertion that an oyster-based resource use approach that adopts a portfolio of uses is superior to an approach that adopts any one particular use. Investigators propose to design the decision tool using an investment portfolio approach that accounts for both market and non-market benefits accruing as a result of the ecosystem services generated. Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) will be applied to three distinct oyster-based resource uses: traditional shell plantings (cultching) typically focused on increasing harvest on either public reefs or private leases, off-bottom oyster farms focused on increasing harvest, and restored no-harvest oyster reefs (living shorelines) typically focused on increasing non-market benefits. Objectives include: 1) Determine the type and extent of services (benefits) delivered by restored oyster reefs, traditional shell plantings, and off-bottom oyster farms using a meta-analysis of published literature. Assign monetary value to market and non-market services provided by the three oyster-based resource uses. 2) Develop budgets of construction and maintenance costs for each type of oyster–based resource use. 3) With the value and costs estimates from 1 and 2, develop and test a multi-criteria decision tool with the State of Mississippi based on assessment methods that use Modern Portfolio Theory

  • Task 3-2:Watershed-scale Valuation and Management [AZ, CO, ME, MS, NH, RI, UT]

The Mississippi State Department of Environmental Quality has proposed a set of numeric nutrient criteria under consideration to estimate the value of the benefits of numeric nutrient criteria in Mississippi to the general public. This work attempts to value the benefits to the general public of the resulting nutrient reductions. Researchers at Utah State are working with the Utah Division of Water Quality to followup the 2014 nutrient study to estimate the damages associated with the numerous algae blooms occurring in 2016.

A tri-state collaboration between Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine examines decision-making about a number of potential dam options, including maintaining existing hydropower dams, expanding hydropower capacity, and removing aging dams to restore fisheries or reduce safety risks. We will examine economic, environmental, and social tradeoffs to help individuals and communities make better decisions about dams.

Illinois will work with researchers in Missouri to couple valuation research with spatial hydrological and fish population modeling in a case study of the Upper Sangamon River watershed in Illinois to identify how agricultural BMPs can best be implemented in a landscape to maximize the benefits obtained from reduced nutrients, reduced sediment, and increased fish populations in a corn-belt watershed.

Privatization of public lands in the Southwestern US results in private use of groundwater. Compounded with increasing population growth and climate change, the impacts of privatization on water resources are not yet thoroughly investigated. Researchers at Northern Arizona University and Colorado State are working on a watershed scale research project estimating systems-wide impacts of privatization of public lands on groundwater and the food, energy, water nexus. The models will incorporate impacts of groundwater pumping on surface water flows.

Measurement of Progress and Results


  • A broad set of empirical estimates of the economic values of agricultural land preservation and open space protection, ecosystem services, and risk management outcomes (fire, invasive species, natural events), multiple recreation activities for different regions, water quality, and related estimated demand and benefit functions Comments: Outputs will be detailed in peer-reviewed journal articles, project reports, and W3133 proceedings. The raw data, databases, benefit and demand functions, and statistical programs, when permissible, will be made available to stakeholders (e.g., state and federal agencies, land trusts) via a W3133 website that links to participating members’ websites (http://nimss.umd.edu/homepages/home.cfm?trackID=8676).
  • Evaluations of market and regulatory mechanism in the provision of ecosystem goods and services Comments: Outputs will be detailed in peer-reviewed journal articles, project reports, and W3133 proceedings. The raw data, databases, benefit and demand functions, and statistical programs, when permissible, will be made available to stakeholders (e.g., state and federal agencies, land trusts) via a W3133 website that links to participating members’ websites (http://nimss.umd.edu/homepages/home.cfm?trackID=8676).
  • Measures of the effectiveness of ecosystem and risk management approaches, programs, and tools Comments: Outputs will be detailed in peer-reviewed journal articles, project reports, and W3133 proceedings. The raw data, databases, benefit and demand functions, and statistical programs, when permissible, will be made available to stakeholders (e.g., state and federal agencies, land trusts) via a W3133 website that links to participating members’ websites (http://nimss.umd.edu/homepages/home.cfm?trackID=8676).
  • Improvements in primary valuation and benefit transfer methods Comments: Outputs will be detailed in peer-reviewed journal articles, project reports, and W3133 proceedings. The raw data, databases, benefit and demand functions, and statistical programs, when permissible, will be made available to stakeholders (e.g., state and federal agencies, land trusts) via a W3133 website that links to participating members’ websites (http://nimss.umd.edu/homepages/home.cfm?trackID=8676).

Outcomes or Projected Impacts

  • Improve federal, state, local, and private institutional decision-making with respect to managing public and private lands by reducing risks associated with natural hazards such as fire and invasive species; the provision of ecosystem goods and services; and efficient mix of recreation opportunities to society Achievement of outcomes will reduce regulatory delay, unnecessary litigation, and suboptimal resource allocations for public agencies and private institutions. This will be done by providing estimates on the economic benefits associated with ecosystem and other land management programs and strategies that will allow public agencies and private institutions to minimize the cost and time of conducting original studies of many ecosystem services. Agencies will be able to complete land and resource management plans and EIS’s more quickly and at lower cost due to the greater availability of proven methods and extensive existing empirical values for use in these agencies Benefit Transfers. This information will be easily accessed via the W3133 website (http://nimss.umd.edu/homepages/home.cfm?trackID=8676).
  • Refine state-of-the-art valuation methods and database development including primary valuation and benefit transfers that result in valid, reliable, and robust estimates of important resource-related goods and services Achievement of outcomes will reduce regulatory delay, unnecessary litigation, and suboptimal resource allocations for public agencies and private institutions. This will be done by providing estimates on the economic benefits associated with ecosystem and other land management programs and strategies that will allow public agencies and private institutions to minimize the cost and time of conducting original studies of many ecosystem services. Agencies will be able to complete land and resource management plans and EIS’s more quickly and at lower cost due to the greater availability of proven methods and extensive existing empirical values for use in these agencies Benefit Transfers. This information will be easily accessed via the W3133 website (http://nimss.umd.edu/homepages/home.cfm?trackID=8676).
  • Provide information on the efficiency and effectiveness of existing programs in the provision of ecosystem goods and services Achievement of outcomes will reduce regulatory delay, unnecessary litigation, and suboptimal resource allocations for public agencies and private institutions. This will be done by providing estimates on the economic benefits associated with ecosystem and other land management programs and strategies that will allow public agencies and private institutions to minimize the cost and time of conducting original studies of many ecosystem services. Agencies will be able to complete land and resource management plans and EIS’s more quickly and at lower cost due to the greater availability of proven methods and extensive existing empirical values for use in these agencies Benefit Transfers. This information will be easily accessed via the W3133 website (http://nimss.umd.edu/homepages/home.cfm?trackID=8676).
  • Provide databases of readily used “off the shelf” values of non-market ecosystem services including recreation, open space, and water quality Achievement of outcomes will reduce regulatory delay, unnecessary litigation, and suboptimal resource allocations for public agencies and private institutions. This will be done by providing estimates on the economic benefits associated with ecosystem and other land management programs and strategies that will allow public agencies and private institutions to minimize the cost and time of conducting original studies of many ecosystem services. Agencies will be able to complete land and resource management plans and EIS’s more quickly and at lower cost due to the greater availability of proven methods and extensive existing empirical values for use in these agencies Benefit Transfers. This information will be easily accessed via the W3133 website (http://nimss.umd.edu/homepages/home.cfm?trackID=8676).


(2017):Data collection methods will be collaboratively designed, and primary and secondary data will be gathered. Annual meetings held in 2018 and 2019 to facilitate collaborations and plan future progressions.

(2019):Initial models (stated and revealed preference models as well as spatial models) will be jointly developed and estimated, and preliminary results shared with stakeholders at annual meetings and in annual proceedings to obtain their suggestions on usefulness Annual meetings held in 2020 to solidify findings.

(2020):Outcomes from this research will be detailed in documents in the form of reports, submitted manuscripts, workshops for agencies, professional meetings, and extension publications by participating members available via links on the W4133 website. Annual meetings held in 2020 and 2021 to conclude findings, define future work, and ensure widespread dissemination of results.

Projected Participation

View Appendix E: Participation

Outreach Plan

An annual meeting of W4133 members and collaborators provides an ideal opportunity to share results with each other including member and partner universities, personnel from several federal agencies (USDA Forest Service, USDA Economic Research Service, US Bureau of Reclamation, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Agricultural Research Service, among others), state agencies, and consulting firms.  The abstracts from this meeting are published electronically in an annual proceeding available to all attendees, Agricultural Experiment Stations, agricultural economics departments at land grant universities, and other registered “friends” of W4133.  An annual report including minutes of our business meeting is posted on the NIMSS website.

Joint research between W4133 members and USDA Forest Service personnel is expected to continue to be published through USDA Forest Service publications (e.g., General Technical Reports, Research Notes, and Research Papers) that are made available through the USDA Forest Service’s web sites and publicized as USDA Forest Service new publications outlets.

Members of W3133 have a long tradition of publishing their research in peer-reviewed journals, and will continue to do so as part of W4133.  Peer-reviewed publications will continue to be utilized as a means of verification through the review process and dissemination to other researchers and practitioners.  Relevant journals include economics and agricultural economics journals (such as American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Environmental and Resource Economics, Ecological Economics, Land Economics, Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics), as well as natural resource journals (such as Journal of Forestry, Water Resources Research, North American Journal of Fisheries Management, Journal of Environmental Management, Landscape and Urban Planning, Journal of Leisure Research, among many others). Many members serve on the editorial boards of the above journals and provide peer-reviews of submitted manuscripts.

The results of the research proposed in this project also will be presented by W4133 members and collaborators at various professional meetings and workshops.  W3133 members routinely provide training workshops for USDA Forest Service personnel as a means to provide guidance and technical skills necessary to transfer research results to field applications, and will continue to do so with the support of the W4133 re-charter.  W4133 members and collaborators will also disseminate their research results through various economics workshops including Iowa’s Heartland Economics Conference, Ohio’s Annual Workshop on Benefit Cost Analysis, Colorado’s Environmental Economics Workshop, Washington’s Forest Ecosystem Management Mini-Course, North Carolina’s Camp Resources, and California’s Occasional Conference on Environmental Economics.  Audiences for these various workshops include state and local policy makers, graduate students, and research scientists.

Despite being a multi-state research project and extension not being the primary driver for collaboration, some W3133 members have formal extension appointments and many members work closely with their extension colleagues. As such, W4133 member research indirectly leads to and benefits from extension/outreach opportunities via members’ institutions and collaborating local, state and federal agencies. Links to participating members’ relevant extension publications such as bulletins and fact sheets will be provided on the W4133 website. This provides additional opportunities to disseminate research outcomes to field settings and policy applications.


We will follow revised standard NIMSS governance procedures.

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Interis, M., and T. Haab. 2014. “Overheating Willingness to Pay: Who Gets Warm Glow and what it means for Valuation.” Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 43(2): 266-278.

Interis, M.G. and D.R. Petrolia.  2016. “Location, Location, Habitat: How the Value of Ecosystem Services Varies Across Location and by Habitat.”  Land Economics 92(2):  292-307.

Interis, M.G., C. Xu, D.R. Petrolia, and K.T. Coatney.  2016. “Examining Unconditional Preference Revelation in Choice Experiments:  A Voting Game Approach.”  Journal of Environmental Economics & Policy 5(1):  125-42.

Jakus, Paul M., Jan E. Stambro, Michael T. Hogue, John C. Downen, Levi Pace, and Therese C. Grijalva. 2017. “Western Public Lands and the Fiscal Implications of a Transfer to States.”  Forthcoming, Land Economics.

Jeon, H., Y. Ji, and C.L. Kling. “A Report to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources: The Iowa Lakes Valuation Project 2014 Summary and Findings” February 2016.

Jeon, H., C.L. Kling, and Y. Ji. “Degraded Water Quality in Lakes: Consequences for Use” Fall 2015, CARD Agricultural Policy Review.

Jeon, Hocheol. 2014. “Three Essays on Environmental Economics.” PhD dissertation, Iowa State University.

Jessoe, Katrina, Dale T. Manning and J. Edward Taylor Climate Change and Labor Allocation in Mexico: Evidence from Annual Fluctuations in Weather (accepted, Economic Journal)

Johnson, E., Bell, K.P., and J.E. Leahy. 2016. Changing course: Comparing emerging watershed institutions in river restoration contexts, Society & Natural Resources, forthcoming.

Johnson, M.L., Bell, K.P., and M. Teisl. 2016. Does imagining future land use changes affect citizen engagement with land use planning? Land Use Policy 57: 44-15.

Johnston, R., K. Moeltner, (2014). Meta-Modeling and Benefit Transfer: The Empirical Relevance of Source-Consistency in Welfare Measures. Environmental and Resource Economics. 59, 337-361.

Ji, Yongjie, Joseph A. Herriges, and Catherine L. Kling. 2016. “Modeling Recreation Demand when the Access Point is Unknown,” American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 98(3): 860-880.

Ji, Yongjie, and David A. Keiser. 2016. “Water-based Recreation and Water Quality Indices: A Revealed Preference Approach.” Mimeo, Iowa State University.

Jones, K.J., and D.J. Lewis. 2015. “Estimating the Counterfactual Impact of Conservation Programs on Land Cover Outcomes: The Role of Matching and Panel Regression Techniques.” PLOS One 10(10): e0141380.

Kang, H., T. Haab, and M. Interis. 2013. “Identifying Inconsistent Responses in Dichotomous Choice Contingent Valuation with Follow-up Questions.” Resource and Energy Economics 35: 396-411.

Kealy, Mary Jo, Nick von Stackelberg, Jeffrey Ostermiller, Nanette Nelson, John Loomis, and Paul M. Jakus.  2014.  “The Value of Improving Water Quality: Case Study of Nutrient Reductions in Utah’s Waters.”  Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Water Environment Federation, 2014(7):6237-6252.

Keiser, David A., and Nicholas Z. Muller. 2016. “Air and Water: Integrated Assessment Models for Multiple Media.” Mimeo, Iowa State University.

Kim, Y., W. Covington, P. Ervin, R. Fitch, E. Kalies, D. Rideout, K. Rollins, A.J., Sanchez-Meader, M.H. Taylor, W. Wu, J. Yoder.  2013.  The Efficacy of hazardous fuel treatments: A rapid assessment of the economic and ecologic consequences of alternative hazardous fuel treatments. Ecological Restoration Institute, Northern Arizona University. 28 pp. http://library.eri.nau.edu/gsdl/collect/erilibra/index/assoc/D2013004.dir/doc.pdf

Kim, Y., C. Kling, J. Zhao. “Understanding Behavioral Explanations of the WTP-WTA Divergence through a Neoclassical Lens: Implications for Environmental Policy,” Annual Review of Resource Economics 7 (2015): 169-187.

Kim, G., D.R. Petrolia, and M.G. Interis.  2012.  "A Method for Improving Welfare Estimates from Multiple Referendum Surveys."  Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 37(2): 1-13.

Keeler, B., S. Wood, S. Polasky, C. Kling, C. Filstrup, and J. Downing. “Recreational Demand for Clean Water: Evidence from Geotagged Photographs by Visitors to Lakes” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 13 (2015): 76-81.

Kobayashi, M, K. Moeltner and K. Rollins.  2012. Latent Threshold Analysis of Choice Data with Multiple Bids and Response Options, American Journal of Agricultural Economics 94 (1): 189-208.

Kobayashi, M., K. Rollins, and M.H. Taylor. 2014. Optimal Livestock Management on Sagebrush Rangeland with Ecological Thresholds, Wildfire, and Invasive Plants. Land Economics 90 (4): 623-648.

Kochi, I., P. Champ, J. Loomis and G. Donovan . Valuing Mortality Impacts of Smoke Exposure from Major Southern California Wildfires. Journal of Forest Economics 18: 61-75. 2012. Joint CSU and USFS

Kocian, M. 2015. Economic Benefits of Trails, Parks, and Open Space in the Mat-Su Borough. Earth Economics, Tacoma, WA. [Link]

Kovacs, K., M. Mancini. 2016. “Conjunctive water management to sustain agricultural economic returns and a shallow aquifer at the landscape level.”  Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, forthcoming.

Krah, K., D.R. Petrolia, A. Williams, K.H. Coble, A. Harri, and R. Rejesus.  2015. “Producer Preferences for Contracts on a Risky Bioenergy Crop.”  Working Paper 2015-6. Department of Agricultural Economics, Mississippi State University.      

Latta, G.S., Adams, D.M., Bell, K.P., and J.D. Kline. 2016. Evaluating land-use and private forest management responses to a potential forest carbon offset sales program in western Oregon (USA), Forest Policy and Economics 65: 1-8, ISSN 1389-9341, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2016.01.004.

Lawler, J., Lewis, D.J., Nelson, E., Plantinga, A.J., Polasky, S., Withey, J., Helmers, D., Martinuzzi, S., and V. Radeloff. 2014.  “Projected Land-Use Change Impacts on U.S. Ecosystem Services.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(20): 7492-7497.

Letourneau, D., A.W. Ando, A. Narwani, J. Jedlicka, and E. Barbier. 2015. “Simple-but-Sound Methods for Estimating the Value of Changes in Biodiversity for Biological Pest Control in Agriculture.” Ecological Economics 120: 215-225.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2015.10.015.

Levesque, V., Bell, K.P., and A. Calhoun. 2016a. Planning for sustainability in small municipalities: The influence of interest groups, growth patterns, and institutional characteristics, Journal of Planning Education and Research, published online 08 July 2016; DOI: 10.1177/0739456X16655601.

Levesque, V.R., Calhoun, A.J.K., Bell, K.P., and T. Johnson. 2016b. Turning contention into collaboration: Engaging power, trust, and learning in collaborative networks, Society & Natural Resources, published online 25 May 2016, DOI:10.1080/08941920.2016.1180726.

Lewis, D.J., and J. Wu. 2015. “Land-Use Patterns and Spatially Dependent Ecosystem Services: Some Microeconomic Foundations.” International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, 8(2): 191-223.

Lewis, D.J., Provencher, B., and B. Beardmore. 2015. “Using an Intervention Framework to Value Salient Ecosystem Services in a Stated Preference Experiment.”  Ecological Economics, 114: 141-151.

Lieske S., D. McLeod and R. Coupal. 2015 “ Infrastructure Development, Residential Growth and Impacts on Public Service Expenditure.” Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy. Invited special issue: Planning Support Systems. 8(2):113-130. 

Liu, Lu and Paul M. Jakus.  2015.  “Hedonic Valuation in an Urban High-Rise Housing Market.” Canadian J. of Agricultural Economics, 63(2):259-273. doi: 10.1111/cjag.12052

Loomis, J. Ways to Make Stated Preference Methods more Valuable to Public Land Managers. Western Economic Forum 9(1): 22-29. Spring 2012.

Loomis, J. Strategies for Overcoming Hypothetical Bias in Stated Preference Surveys. Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 39(1): 34-46. 2014.

Lott, C., E. Tchigriaeva and K. Rollins. 2014. “Residential water demand, climate change and exogenous economic trends.” Presented at the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, July 27-29, 2014.

Maas, Alex, Andre Dozier, Dale Manning, and Christopher Goemans.  2015. “The Value of Stored Water and Trading in the West: Lessons from the Colorado-Big Thompson Project.”  Colorado Water. Volume 32, Issue 1 pp.5-7. 

Mallory, M.L. and A.W. Ando. 2014. “Implementing Efficient Conservation Portfolio Design.” Resource and Energy Economics 38: 1-18.

Manning, D. T., and J. C. Hadrich. "An evaluation of the social and private efficiency of adoption: Anaerobic digesters and greenhouse gas mitigation." Journal of Environmental Management 154 (2015): 70-77.

Manning, Dale T., and J. Edward Taylor. "Agricultural Efficiency and Labor Supply to Common Property Resource Collection: Lessons from Rural Mexico." Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 40.3 (2015): 365-386.

Manning, D.T. and Loomis, J.B. (2016) ‘Consumer preferences for fixed versus variable quantities of electricity: joint estimation of contingent quantity and valuation methods’, Environment and Development Economics, pp. 1–23.

Manning, Dale T., Peter Means, Daniel Zimmerle, Kathleen Galvin, John Loomis, Keith Paustian. “Using contingent behavior analysis to measure benefits from rural electrification in developing countries: an example from Rwanda.”  Energy Policy, Volume 86, November 2015, Pages 393-401.

Manning, Dale T., J. Edward Taylor and James Wilen.  General Equilibrium Tragedy of the Commons, Accepted, Environmental and Resource Economics

Martinuzzi, S., Radeloff, V.C., Joppa, L.N., Hamilton, C.M., Helmers, D.P., Plantinga, A.J., and D.J. Lewis. 2015. “Scenarios of Future Land Use Change around United States’ Protected Areas.”  Biological Conservation, 184: 446-455.

Martinuzzi, S., Januchowski-Hartley, S.R., Pracheil, B.M., McIntyre, P.R., Plantinga, A.J., Lewis, D.J., and V.C. Radeloff. 2014. “Threats and Opportunities for Freshwater Conservation under Future Land Use Change Scenarios in the United States.” Global Change Biology, 20: 113-124.

Martinuzzi, S., Radeloff, V.C., Higgins, J.V., Helmers, D.P., Plantinga, A.J. and D.J. Lewis. 2013. “Key Areas for Conserving United States’ Biodiversity Likely Threatened by Future Land Use Change.” Ecosphere, 4(5): 1-13.

Moeltner, K, R.S. Rosenberger, (2014). Cross-Context Benefit Transfer: A Bayesian Search for Information Pools. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 96(2), 469-488.

Moeltner, K, M.K. Kim, E. Zhu, W. Yang, (2013). Wildfire Smoke and Health Impacts: A Closer Look at Fire Attributes and their Marginal Effects. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 66(3), 476--496.

Morzillo, A.T., Colocousis, C., Munroe, D., Bell, K.P., Martinuzzi, S., Van Berkel, D.B., Lechowicz, M., Rayfield, B., and B. McGill. 2015. Forests in the middle: interactions between drivers of change and place-based characteristics in rural forest communities, Journal of Rural Studies (December): http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0743016715300231.   

Mueller, Julie M. (2014) “Estimating Willingness to Pay for Watershed Restoration in Flagstaff, Arizona Using Dichotomous-Choice Contingent Valuation.” Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research 87(2):327-333.

Mueller, Julie M., Swaffar, Wes, Nielsen, Erik, Masek-Lopez, Sharon, and Springer, Abraham. (2013) “Estimating Values of Increased Watershed Services from Forest Restoration.” Water Resources Research 49(4):1773-1781.

Mueller, J. and Loomis, J. Does the Estimated Impacts of Wildfires Vary with Housing Price Distribution?  A Quantile Regression Approach. Land Use Policy 41: 121-127. 2014. Joint N.AZ Univ and CSU.

Mueller, J.  and Loomis, J.. A Spatial Probit Modeling Approach to Account for Spatial Spillover Effects in Dichotomous Choice Contingent Valuation Surveys. Journal of Agricultural & Applied Economics 45: 53-63.  2013. Joint N.AZ Univ and CSU.

Mueller, J. and Loomis, J. Bayesians in Space: Using Bayesian Methods to Inform Choice of Spatial Weights Matrix in Hedonic Property Analyses. The Review of Regional Studies 40(3): 245-255. Publication date 2010, appeared in 2012.

Nelson, N., Loomis, J., Jakus, P., Kealy, M., Stackelburg, N., and Ostermiller, J. Linking Ecological Data and Economics to Estimate the Total Economic Value of Improving Water Quality by Reducing Nutrients. Ecological Economics  118: 1-9. 2015.  CSU, USU and WY

Petrolia, D.R., C.E. Landry, and K.H. Coble.  2013. “Risk Preferences, Risk Perceptions, and Flood Insurance.”  Land Economics 89(2): 227-45.

Petrolia, D.R., M.G. Interis, and J. Hwang.  2016. “Single-Choice, Repeated-Choice, and Best-Worst Elicitation Formats:  Do Results Differ and by How Much?”  Environmental and Resource Economics (forthcoming).

Petrolia, D.R.  2016. “Risk Preferences, Risk Perceptions, and Risky Food.”  Food Policy 64:  37-48.

Petrolia, D.R. J. Hwang, C.E. Landry, and K.H. Coble.  2015. “Wind Insurance and Mitigation in the Coastal Zone.”  Land Economics 91(2): 272-95. 

Petrolia, D.R.  2015. “What Have We Learned from the Deepwater Horizon Disaster?  An Economist’s Perspective.”  Journal of Ocean & Coastal Economics 2014(1):  Article 1.

Petrolia, D.R., M.G. Interis, J. Hwang.  2014. “America’s Wetland?  A National Survey of Willingness to Pay for Restoration of Louisiana’s Coastal Wetlands.”  Marine Resource Economics 29(1): 17-37.

Polasky, S., Lewis, D.J., Plantinga, A.J., and E. Nelson. 2014. “Implementing the Optimal Provision of Ecosystem Services.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(17): 6248-6253.

Provencher, B., Lewis, D.J., and K. Anderson. 2012. “Disentangling Preferences and Expectations in Stated Preference Analysis with Respondent Uncertainty: The Case of Invasive Species Prevention.”  Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 64(2): 169-182.

Radeloff, V.C., Nelson, E., Plantinga, A.J., Lewis, D.J., Helmers, D., Lawler, J.J., Withey, J.C., Beaudry, F., Martinuzzi, S., Butsic, V., Lonsdorf, E., White, D., and S. Polasky. 2012. “Economic-Based Projections of Future Land-Use under Alternative Economic Policy Scenarios in the Conterminous U.S.” Ecological Applications, 22(3): 1036-1049.

Richardson, L., J. Loomis and P. Champ.Valuing Morbidity from Wildfire Smoke: A Comparison of Revealed and Stated Preference Techniques. Land Economics 89(1): 76-100. 2013.  Joint CSU and USFS.

Richardson, L., J. Loomis, and P. Champ. The Hidden Costs of Wildfires: Economic Valuation of Health Effects of Wildfire Smoke Exposure in Southern California. Journal of Forest Economics, 18: 14-35. 2012. Joint CSU & USFS.

Richardson, L., J. Loomis. T. Kroeger and F. Casey. The Role of Benefit Transfer in Ecosystem Service Valuation. Ecological Economics 115: 51-58. 2015. CSU and USGS

Rollins, K., M. Taylor, M. Kobayashi, and R. Tausch. 2012. “The economics of fuel management: Wildfire, invasive plants, and the evolution of sagebrush rangelands in the Western United States,” European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists 19th Annual Conference, 27-30 June 2012, Prague, Czech Republic. www.webmeets.com/EAERE/2012/prog/viewpaper.asp?pid=702

Rollins, K. and M.H. Taylor. 2012. The Economics of Ecologically Based Invasive Plant Management on Great Basin Rangelands. Rangelands. 34(6):48-52.

Schundler, G., Mojica, J., Briceno, T. 2015. Economic Analysis of Outdoor Recreation at Washington’s State Parks. Earth Economics, Tacoma, WA. [Link]

Shah, P.S., M.L. Mallory, A.W. Ando, and G. Guntenspergen. Accepted. “Multi-Stage Iterative Spatial Portfolio Analyses for Conservation Settings with Limited Information.” Conservation Biology.

Shah, P. and A.W. Ando. 2016. “Permanent and Temporary Policy Incentives for Conservation under Stochastic Returns from Competing Land Uses.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics. doi: 10.1093/ajae/aaw032.

Shah, P. and A.W. Ando. 2015. “Downside versus Symmetric Measures of Uncertainty in Natural Resource Portfolio Design to Manage Climate Change Uncertainty.” Land Economics 91(4): 664-687.

Silva, Carlos.  2014. “Calculating Willingness to Pay as a Function of Biophysical Water Quality and Water Quality Perceptions.” M.S. thesis.

Snell, M., Bell, K.P., and J. Leahy. 2013. Local institutions and lake management. Lakes & Reservoirs: Research & Management 18(1): 35-44.

Stambro, J.E., J.C. Downen, M.T. Hogue, L. Pace, P.M. Jakus, and T.C. Grijalva.  2014.  “An Analysis of a Transfer of Federal Lands to the State of Utah.”  November.

Sun, C., J.C. Mingie, D.R. Petrolia, and W.D. Jones.  2015. “Economic impacts of nonresidential wildlife watching in the United States.”  Forest Science 61(1): 46-54.

Tabatabaei, M.,  J. Loomis, and D. McCollum.  Non-Market Benefits of Reducing Environmental Effects of Potential Wildfires in Beetle Killed Trees: A Contingent Valuation Study. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 34(8): 720-737. 2015. Joint CSU and USFS

Taylor, M.H., A. J. Sanchez-Meador, Y. Kim, K.  Rollins and H. Will.  2015. The Economics of Ecological Restoration and Hazardous Fuel Reduction Treatments in the Ponderosa Pine Forest Ecosystem.  Forest Science.  Volume 61, Number 6, 20 December 2015, pp. 988-1008(21).

Taylor, M. H., L. Christman, Laine, K. Rollins.  2013. “Risk Externalities, Wildfire Hazard, and Private Investment to Mitigate Wildfire Risk in the Wildland-Urban Interface” Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Annual Meeting, Washington D.C., August, 4-6, 2013. http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/handle/149572

Taylor, M, and K. Rollins.  2012. Using Ecological Models to Coordinate Valuation of Ecological Change on Western Rangelands for ex post Application to Policy Analysis, Western Economics Forum 11 (1): 13-21.

Taylor, M. H., L. Christman, and K.  Rollins 2015. Choosing the Right Policy to Promote Defensible Space in the Wildland-Urban Interface: Evidence from Homeowners in Nevada. UNR Economics Working Paper Series, No. 15-001.

Taylor, M, K. Rollins, M. Kobayashi and R. Tausch. 2013. The Economics of Fuel Management: Wildfire, Invasive Plants, and the Evolution of Sagebrush Rangelands in the Western United States.  Journal of Environmental Management 126 (2013) 157-173.

Vinoles, V., K. Moeltner, S. Stoddard (2015). Length of Residency and Water Use in an Arid Urban Environment, Water Resources and Economics, 12(Oct.), 52-66.

Wendland, K.J., M. Baumann, D.J. Lewis, A. Sieber, V. Radeloff. 2015. “Protected Area Effectiveness in European Russia: A Post-Matching Panel Data Analysis.” Land Economics 91(1): 149-168.

Wendland, K., Lewis, D.J., and J. Alix-Garcia. 2014. “The Effect of Decentralized Governance on Timber Extraction in European Russia.” Environmental and Resource Economics, 57: 19-40.

Wetzel, William C., Daniel S. Swezey, Sarah E. Moffitt, and Dale T. Manning. "Analysis reveals potential rangeland impacts if Williamson Act eliminated." California Agriculture 66, no. 4 (2012).

Yi, Donggyu. 2014. “Three Studies on Environmental Valuation.” PhD dissertation, Iowa State University.

Zipp, K.Y., Lewis, D.J. and B. Provencher. 2017. “Does the Conservation of Land Reduce Development? An Econometric-Based Landscape Simulation with Land Market Feedbacks.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 81: 19-37.



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Northern Arizona University, U.S. Government Accountability Office, University of Montana, USDA/ERS, USDA/FS Rocky Mountain Research Station
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