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Valuing ecosystem and economic services across land-use scenarios in the Prairie Pothole Region of the Dakotas, USA


  • Gascoigne, William R.
  • Hoag, Dana
  • Koontz, Lynne
  • Tangen, Brian A.
  • Shaffer, Terry L.
  • Gleason, Robert A.


This study uses biophysical values derived for the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of North and South Dakota, in conjunction with value transfer methods, to assess environmental and economic tradeoffs under different policy-relevant land-use scenarios over a 20-year period. The ecosystem service valuation is carried out by comparing the biophysical and economic values of three focal services (i.e. carbon sequestration, reduction in sedimentation, and waterfowl production) across three focal land uses in the region [i.e. native prairie grasslands, lands enrolled in the Conservation Reserve and Wetlands Reserve Programs (CRP/WRP), and cropland]. This study finds that CRP/WRP lands cannot mitigate (hectare for hectare) the loss of native prairie from a social welfare standpoint. Land use scenarios where native prairie loss was minimized, and CRP/WRP lands were increased, provided the most societal benefit. The scenario modeling projected native prairie conversion to cropland over the next 20Â years would result in a social welfare loss valued at over $4 billion when considering the study's three ecosystem services, and a net loss of about $3.4 billion when reductions in commodity production are accounted for.

Suggested Citation

  • Gascoigne, William R. & Hoag, Dana & Koontz, Lynne & Tangen, Brian A. & Shaffer, Terry L. & Gleason, Robert A., 2011. "Valuing ecosystem and economic services across land-use scenarios in the Prairie Pothole Region of the Dakotas, USA," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(10), pages 1715-1725, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:10:p:1715-1725

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Troy, Austin & Wilson, Matthew A., 2006. "Mapping ecosystem services: Practical challenges and opportunities in linking GIS and value transfer," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 435-449, December.
    2. Feng, Hongli & Kling, Catherine L. & Gassman, Philip W., 2004. "Carbon Sequestration, Co-Benefits, and Conservation Programs," Choices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 19(3).
    3. 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.
    4. Kreuter, Urs P. & Harris, Heather G. & Matlock, Marty D. & Lacey, Ronald E., 2001. "Change in ecosystem service values in the San Antonio area, Texas," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 333-346, December.
    5. Lant, Christopher L. & Kraft, Steven E. & Beaulieu, Jeffrey & Bennett, David & Loftus, Timothy & Nicklow, John, 2005. "Using GIS-based ecological-economic modeling to evaluate policies affecting agricultural watersheds," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 467-484, December.
    6. Hansen, LeRoy T., 2009. "The Viability of Creating Wetlands for the Sale of Carbon Offsets," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 34(2), August.
    7. Lewandrowski, Jan & Peters, Mark & Jones, Carol Adaire & House, Robert M. & Sperow, Mark & Eve, Marlen & Paustian, Keith H., 2004. "Economics Of Sequestering Carbon In The U.S. Agricultural Sector," Technical Bulletins 33569, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    8. Wilson, Matthew A. & Hoehn, John P., 2006. "Valuing environmental goods and services using benefit transfer: The state-of-the art and science," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 335-342, December.
    9. Hansen, LeRoy & Ribaudo, Marc, 2008. "Economic Measures of Soil Conservation Benefits: Regional Values for Policy Assessment," Technical Bulletins 184312, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    10. Bockstael, N. & Costanza, R. & Strand, I. & Boynton, W. & Bell, K. & Wainger, L., 1995. "Ecological economic modeling and valuation of ecosystems," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 143-159, August.
    11. Jenkins, W. Aaron & Murray, Brian C. & Kramer, Randall A. & Faulkner, Stephen P., 2010. "Valuing ecosystem services from wetlands restoration in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(5), pages 1051-1061, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Philip J. Gerla & Meredith W. Cornett & Jason D. Ekstein & Marissa A. Ahlering, 2012. "Talking Big: Lessons Learned from a 9000 Hectare Restoration in the Northern Tallgrass Prairie," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(11), pages 1-22, November.
    2. Wang, Tong & Luri, Moses & Janssen, Larry & Hennessy, David & Feng, Hongli & Wimberly, Michael & Arora, Gaurav, 2016. "Farmers’ Rankings of the Determinants of Land Use Decisions at the Margins of the Corn Belt," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235109, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Wang, Tong & Luri, Moses & Janssen, Larry & Hennessy, David A. & Feng, Hongli & Wimberly, Michael C. & Arora, Gaurav, 2017. "Determinants of Motives for Land Use Decisions at the Margins of the Corn Belt," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 227-237.
    4. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:3:p:237:d:64941 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Richardson, Leslie & Loomis, John & Kroeger, Timm & Casey, Frank, 2015. "The role of benefit transfer in ecosystem service valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 51-58.
    6. Xiaoya Ma & Xiang Zhao, 2015. "Land Use Allocation Based on a Multi-Objective Artificial Immune Optimization Model: An Application in Anlu County, China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(11), pages 1-20, November.
    7. Lulu Liu & Wei Cao & Quanqin Shao & Lin Huang & Tian He, 2016. "Characteristics of Land Use/Cover and Macroscopic Ecological Changes in the Headwaters of the Yangtze River and of the Yellow River over the Past 30 Years," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(3), pages 1-20, March.
    8. Ida Kubiszewski & Sharolyn J. Anderson & Robert Costanza & Paul C. Sutton, 2016. "The Future of Ecosystem Services in Asia and the Pacific," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 389-404, September.
    9. repec:eee:ecolec:v:139:y:2017:i:c:p:75-90 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Hansen, LeRoy & Hellerstein, Daniel & Ribaudo, Marc & Williamson, James & Nulph, David & Loesch, Charles & Crumpton, William, 2015. "Targeting Investments To Cost Effectively Restore and Protect Wetland Ecosystems: Some Economic Insights," Economic Research Report 199283, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.


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