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Does encouraging the use of wetlands in water quality trading programs make economic sense?

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Author Info

  • Heberling, Matthew T.
  • García, Jorge H.
  • Thurston, Hale W.

Abstract

This paper examines a proposal to incorporate the use of wetlands in water quality trading (WQT) programs in order to meet national wetlands goals and advance WQT. It develops a competitive WQT model wherein wetland services are explicitly considered. To participate in a WQT program, an agricultural producer could employ wetlands as his nutrient management practice. Unlike most other management practices, wetlands not only remove nutrients from agricultural runoff but also provide ancillary benefits like wildlife habitat and flood control that do not exclusively accrue to the farmer. Thus, when appropriate, a WQT program should be coupled with additional incentives for wetland creation and restoration, such as using a wetland subsidy. Despite the water quality enhancement properties of wetlands, the model reveals that implementing a wetland subsidy will not necessarily translate into water quality improvements. While wetland creation is externally incentivized, the farm's opportunity cost of fertilizer usage in the WQT market is also reduced. In this sense, a wetland subsidy acts like a fertilizer subsidy. Conditions under which a wetland subsidy will help expand WQT include some degree of farmland area fixity, which is resembled in some, but not all, watersheds, and high efficiency of the wetland abatement technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 69 (2010)
Issue (Month): 10 (August)
Pages: 1988-1994

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:69:y:2010:i:10:p:1988-1994

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

Related research

Keywords: Water quality trading Wetlands Ecosystem services Incentives;

References

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  1. Hongli Feng & Catherine L. Kling, 2005. "The Consequences of Cobenefits for the Efficient Design of Carbon Sequestration Programs," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 53(4), pages 461-476, December.
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  10. Elbakidze, Levan & McCarl, Bruce A., 2007. "Sequestration offsets versus direct emission reductions: Consideration of environmental co-effects," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 564-571, January.
  11. Horan, Richard D. & Shortle, James S. & Abler, David G., 2004. "The Coordination and Design of Point-Nonpoint Trading Programs and Agri-Environmental Policies," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 33(1), April.
  12. Taylor, Timothy G. & Kalaitzandonakes, Nicholas G., 1990. "A Test Of Asset Fixity In Southeastern U.S. Agriculture," Southern Journal of Agricultural Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 22(01), July.
  13. Gelso, Brett R. & Fox, John A. & Peterson, Jeffrey M., 2008. "AJAE Appendix: Farmers' Perceived Costs of Wetlands: Effects of Wetland Size, Hydration, and Dispersion," American Journal of Agricultural Economics Appendices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 90(1), February.
  14. Jussi Lankoski & Markku Ollikainen, 2003. "Agri-environmental externalities: a framework for designing targeted policies," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 30(1), pages 51-75, March.
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  16. Lubowski, Ruben N. & Bucholtz, Shawn & Claassen, Roger & Roberts, Michael J. & Cooper, Joseph C. & Gueorguieva, Anna & Johansson, Robert C., 2006. "Environmental Effects Of Agricultural Land-Use Change: The Role Of Economics And Policy," Economic Research Report 33591, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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Cited by:
  1. Natacha Fauvet & Jean-Christophe Pereau, 2014. "Nutrient Allowances Market and Wetland Abatement," Working Papers 2014.06, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, revised May 2014.

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