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Estimating the value of watershed services following forest restoration

Mueller, Julie M. and Swaffar, Wes and Nielsen, Erik A. and Springer, Abraham E. and Lopez, Sharon Masek (2013) Estimating the value of watershed services following forest restoration. Water Resources Research, 49 (4). pp. 1773-1781. ISSN 1944-7973


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Publisher’s or external URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/wrcr.20163


Declining forest health, climate change, and development threaten the sustainability of water supplies in the western United States. While forest restoration may buffer threats to watershed services, funding shortfalls for landscape-scale restoration efforts limit management action. The hydrologic response and reduction in risk to watersheds following forest restoration treatments could create significant nonmarket benefits for downstream water users. Historic experimental watershed studies indicate a significant and positive response from forest thinning by a reallocation of water from evapotranspiration to surface-water yield. In this study, we estimate the willingness to pay (WTP) for improved watershed services for one group of downstream users, irrigators, following forest restoration activities. We find a positive and statistically significant WTP within our sample of $183.50 per household, at an aggregated benefit of more than $400,000 annually for 2181 irrigators. Our benefit estimate provides evidence that downstream irrigators may be willing to invest in landscape-scale forest restoration to maintain watershed services.

Item Type: Article
Publisher’s Statement: ©2013. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
ID number or DOI: 10.1002/wrcr.20163
Keywords: amelioration of forest sites; Bayesian estimation; contingent valuation; Ecological restoration; ecosystem services; forest restoration; Ponderosa; watershed services; western forests; Wildfire; willingness to pay; climatic changes;
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Faculty/Staff
Department/Unit: The W.A. Franke College of Business
College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Science > School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2016 17:23
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/1894

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