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Economic Impact of Boundary Waters Wilderness Visitors

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) in northeastern Minnesota receives about 150,000 annual visitors that spur tremendous economic impacts in surrounding communities.  We estimated the annual regional economic impacts and found that out-of-region visitor spending creates nearly 1,000 full and part-time jobs in three adjacent counties and generates almost $80 million in total output.  Outdoor recreation is an export industry for northeastern Minnesota, providing for stable employment and sustainable jobs year after year.

Economics of a Takeover of Idaho's Public Lands 

Introduced state legislation (HR 22) has Idaho lawmakers exploring the possibility of the State taking over federal lands. To provide a clearer picture of the economics associated with a public lands takeover, the Idaho Conservation League asked us to estimate the fiscal impacts that would be incurred by the State of Idaho if such legislation was implemented.

Value of Ecosystem Conservation 

At CEI, we place an emphasis on regularly publishing our research in peer-reviewed, academic journals. While we want to provide the best available science to inform policy decisions, we also see a tremendous need to further establish conservation economics within overall economic theory. A recent example of our conservation economics peer-reviewed research was published earlier this year. “Valuing Type and Scope of Ecosystem Conservation: A Meta-Analysis” was published in the Journal of Forest Economics and provides a synthesis of willingness to pay for conservation around the world.

Ecosystem Services from the Wilderness

As naturally functioning landscapes become fewer and fewer in our industrial society, Wilderness and its associated high quality ecosystem services is becoming a scarce commodity.  Wilderness offers numerous market and nonmarket ecosystem services to society that are critical to our well-being.  In this journal essay, we take a closer look at Wilderness ecosystem services afforded by the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana and examine the potential for future generations to also reap the benefits of Wilderness.

How Much is an Alaskan Old-Growth Forest Worth?

Benefit-cost analysis has been a primary economic evaluation method for forest management planning.  In economic efficiency tests of forest planning, marketed products such as timber are usually easily known and incorporated.  But, conservation values such as old growth preservation and ecological restoration of degraded forests are typically not included in the financial accounting of a forest’s value.  We investigated the willingness to pay of Alaskans to protect old growth forests scheduled for harvest and their demand for forest and stream restoration on the Tongass National Forest.  We found the average Alaskan household was willing to pay $150 for preserving old growth and limiting old growth harvests in the future.  We also found strong preference for all three conservation programs as compared to the status quo. 

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