The valuation of off-site ecosystem service flows: Deforestation, erosion and the amenity value of lakes in Prescott, Arizona
One of the most important services provided by forests is the control of erosion. We investigated the value of forest cover in protecting water quality in five urban lakes around Prescott, AZ. We first estimated the role of forest cover in regulating sediment loadings into each lake via a sediment delivery model. We then used 8301 single-family residential property transactions that occurred between 2002 and 2005 in Prescott, AZ, to estimate a hedonic price function. This yielded an estimate of the marginal willingness-to-pay (MWTP) for avoiding 1t of sediment per lake-acre, from which we were able to infer the marginal willingness to pay for the erosion control services associated with a 10% change in current canopy cover. We found that the marginal value of the erosion control services of forest cover varies widely across the watersheds depending on the accessibility of affected lakes, the current level of canopy cover, and the number and value of affected residential properties among other factors.
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