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The value of ecosystem services provided by the U.S. National Wildlife Refuge System in the contiguous U.S

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  • Ingraham, Molly W.
  • Foster, Shonda Gilliland
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    Abstract

    Studies that demonstrate the economic value of the ecosystem services provided by public conservation lands can contribute to a more accurate appraisal of the benefit of these lands. The objective of this study was to estimate the economic value, in real (2004) dollars, of the ecosystem services provided by the U.S. National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System) in the contiguous U.S. In order to estimate this value, we determined the ecosystems present on the Refuge System in the contiguous 48 states, the proportion in which they are represented, and the dollar value of services provided by each. We used land cover classes as an approximation of ecosystems present in the Refuge System. In a geographic information system (GIS), we combined land cover geospatial data with a map of the Refuge System boundaries to calculate the number of acres for each refuge and land cover class within the Refuge System. We transferred values for the following ecosystem services: climate and atmospheric gas regulation; disturbance prevention; freshwater regulation and supply; waste assimilation and nutrient regulation; and habitat provision. We conducted a central tendency value transfer by transferring averaged values taken from primarily original site studies to the Refuge System based on the ecoregion in which each study site and refuge was located and the ecoregion's relative net primary productivity (NPP). NPP is a parameter used to quantify the net carbon absorption rate by living plants, and has been shown to be correlated with spatially fungible ecosystem services. The methodologies used in the site studies included direct market valuation, indirect market valuation and contingent valuation. We estimated the total value of ecosystem services provided by the Refuge System in the contiguous U.S. to be approximately $26.9 billion/year. This estimate is a first cut attempt to demonstrate that the value of the Refuge System likely exceeds the value derived purely from recreational activities. Due to limitations of current understanding, methods and data, there is a potentially large margin of error associated with the estimate.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 67 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 4 (November)
    Pages: 608-618

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:67:y:2008:i:4:p:608-618

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

    Related research

    Keywords: Ecosystem services Refuge System Benefit transfer Economic valuation;

    References

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    1. Boyd, James & Banzhaf, H. Spencer, 2006. "What Are Ecosystem Services?," Discussion Papers dp-06-02, Resources For the Future.
    2. de Groot, Rudolf S. & Wilson, Matthew A. & Boumans, Roelof M. J., 2002. "A typology for the classification, description and valuation of ecosystem functions, goods and services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 393-408, June.
    3. Costanza, Robert & Farber, Stephen C. & Maxwell, Judith, 1989. "Valuation and management of wetland ecosystems," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 335-361, December.
    4. Smith, V. Kerry & Van Houtven, George & Pattanayak, Subhrendu, 1999. "Benefit Transfer as Preference Calibration," Discussion Papers dp-99-36, Resources For the Future.
    5. Roberts, Lisa A. & Leitch, Jay A., 1997. "Economic Valuation Of Some Wetland Outputs Of Mud Lake, Minnesota-South Dakota," Agricultural Economics Reports 23406, North Dakota State University, Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics.
    6. Brouwer, Roy, 2000. "Environmental value transfer: state of the art and future prospects," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 137-152, January.
    7. Hovde, Brett & Leitch, Jay A., 1994. "Valuing Prairie Potholes: Five Case Studies," Agricultural Economics Reports 23391, North Dakota State University, Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics.
    8. Batie, Sandra S. & Wilson, James R., 1978. "Economic Values Attributable To Virginia'S Coastal Wetlands As Input In Oyster Production," Southern Journal of Agricultural Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 10(01), July.
    9. Costanza, Robert & d'Arge, Ralph & de Groot, Rudolf & Farber, Stephen & Grasso, Monica & Hannon, Bruce & Limburg, Karin & Naeem, Shahid & O'Neill, Robert V. & Paruelo, Jose, 1998. "The value of ecosystem services: putting the issues in perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 67-72, April.
    10. Loomis, John B. & White, Douglas S., 1996. "Economic benefits of rare and endangered species: summary and meta-analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 197-206, September.
    11. Pate, Jennifer & Loomis, John, 1997. "The effect of distance on willingness to pay values: a case study of wetlands and salmon in California," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 199-207, March.
    12. Loomis, John & Kent, Paula & Strange, Liz & Fausch, Kurt & Covich, Alan, 2000. "Measuring the total economic value of restoring ecosystem services in an impaired river basin: results from a contingent valuation survey," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 103-117, April.
    13. Woodward, Richard T. & Wui, Yong-Suhk, 2001. "The economic value of wetland services: a meta-analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 257-270, May.
    14. Konarska, Keri M. & Sutton, Paul C. & Castellon, Michael, 2002. "Evaluating scale dependence of ecosystem service valuation: a comparison of NOAA-AVHRR and Landsat TM datasets," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 491-507, June.
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    Cited by:
    1. Liu, Xiangping & Taylor, Laura O. & Hamilton, Timothy L. & Grigelis, Peter E., 2013. "Amenity values of proximity to National Wildlife Refuges: An analysis of urban residential property values," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 37-43.
    2. Jan Philipp Schägner & Luke Brander & Joachim Maes & Volkmar Hartje, 2012. "Mapping Ecosystem Services’ Values: Current Practice and Future Prospects," Working Papers 2012.59, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    3. Kontogianni, Areti & Luck, Gary W. & Skourtos, Michalis, 2010. "Valuing ecosystem services on the basis of service-providing units: A potential approach to address the 'endpoint problem' and improve stated preference methods," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(7), pages 1479-1487, May.

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