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An Investment that Pays: The Economic Benefits of Parks and Open Space

2009
Authors: Erica Gies
Organizations/Sources: The Trust for Public Land
This report reviews the literature, including case studies, dealing with the economic benefits of creating parks, preserving working land, preserving land prone to flooding, conserving ecosystem benefits, and preventing sprawl development. Parks and preserved lands boost land values and property taxes, attract residents and businesses, encourage economic development, boost the economy of surrounding areas, save money over some types of development, preserve ecosystem services, and reduce health care costs. One example given in the paper is how New York used $1.2 billion to restore and protect natural land in New York City’s watersheds, which prevented the need to build a $6-$8 billion water filtration plant.
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Jul 03, 2019
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Carbon County Return on Environment

2018
Study evaluating the economic benefits of land conservation and outdoor recreation in Carbon County, Pennsylvania.
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Jul 02, 2019
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186 times

Dauphin County Return on Environment

2016
Organizations/Sources: Keystone Conservation Trust
The results of this study show that nature is serious business. The goods and services that flow from Dauphin County’s existing open space and natural systems save residents, communities and businesses $939.2 million in avoided costs for natural system services, air pollution removal and revenues from outdoor recreation each year.These benefits accrue to businesses, manufacturing, agriculture, governments and households.
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Jul 02, 2019
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228 times

Does Wilderness Impoverish Rural Regions?

2004
Organizations/Sources: International Journal of Wilderness
A study of 113 rural counties in the American West, 43% containing federally wilderness areas, shows that for the period of 1970 to 2000, there is a significant positive correlation between the percent of land in designated wilderness and population, income, and employment growth. This correlation is strongest for counties not adjacent to metropolitan areas. Wilderness designation promotes, rather than limits growth, and may promote demographic and economic growth at rates that can jeopardize natural resources.
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Jul 02, 2019
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Ecosystem Services in Cecil County’s Green Infrastructure: Technical Report for the Cecil County Green Infrastructure Plan

2007
Authors: Ted Weber
Organizations/Sources: The Conservation Fund
This document examines a suite of 16 ecosystem services provided by forests and wetlands in Cecil County, Maryland, and attempts to estimate their economic value, primarily based on transfers from previous studies.
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Jul 02, 2019
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Land Conservation and Property Taxes in Vermont

2009
Authors: Deb Brighton
Organizations/Sources: Vermont Land Trust
This study looks at the impact of permanent land conservation (through acquisition or through conservation easement) on tax rates in Vermont towns. In general, the median municipal tax bill is higher in towns that have the most taxable property, and lower in the towns with the least taxable property value. This study concludes that on average, tax bills are lower in towns with the most conserved land, which is likely due to open space tending to require few public services.
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Jul 02, 2019
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Lehigh Valley Return on Environment

2014
Organizations/Sources: Lehigh Valley Planning Commission
This study calculates the economic value generated by open space in the Lehigh Valley. It finds that open space adds significant value to the regional economy with benefits accruing to businesses, governments and households--some benefits being direct revenue streams to individuals or governments, some representing asset appreciation and some accruing in the form of avoided costs.
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Jul 02, 2019
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Pennsylvania’s Return on Investment in the Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund

2013
Organizations/Sources: The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land conducted an economic analysis of the return on Pennsylvania’s investment in land and water conservation through the Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund and found that every $1 invested in land conservation returned $7 in natural goods and services to the Pennsylvania economy.
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Jul 02, 2019
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Return on Environment: The Economic Value of Protected Open Space in Chester County

2019
Chester County partnered with the major land conservancies active in Chester County, as well as the Chester County Economic Development Council and Chester County Association of Township Officials to produce the Return on Environment report that estimates the economic impact of the County's robust open space preservation initiative.
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Jul 02, 2019
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Return on Environment: The Economic Value of Protected Open Space in Southeastern Pennsylvania

2010
More than just pretty places, preserved open spaces contribute to our local economies and property values, they help us save on everything from health care to recreation, and they perform valuable ecosystem services that naturally improve the air we breathe and the water we drink. Included in this library item are both the full study and a study summary.
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Jul 03, 2019
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Return on the Investment From the Land & Water Conservation Fund

2010
The Trust for Public Land conducted an analysis of the return on the investment of dollars for federal land acquisition at sixteen locations that received significant Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) acquisition funds between 1998 and 2009. For the 131,000 acres of land preserved, every $1 of LWCF funds spent returns almost $4 in economic value. Additionally, the 10.6 million annual visitors to these areas spend $511 million in the surrounding local communities.
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Jul 02, 2019
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The Business of Nature: The Return on Environment in Berks County

2011
Organizations/Sources: Keystone Conservation Trust
What is the role of trees, fields, and forests in filtering water, cleansing the air, controlling flooding and more? How much is it worth? What are all the other economic benefits of open space in Berks County? This report lays out the numbers in 28 colorful and eye catching pages.
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Jul 02, 2019
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The Economic Benefits of Land Conservation

2007
Organizations/Sources: The Trust for Public Land
To show how a strategy of land conservation is integral to economic health, this report illustrates that parks and open space increase property tax revenue and yields a better return on investment than development. It reviews the economic benefits of farmland preservation, shows how forest cover decreases the cost of treating drinking water, enumerates the economic value of urban trees, and examines the role of parks and open space in attracting businesses and affluent retirees to a community.
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Jul 02, 2019
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The Economic Benefits of Open Space, Recreation Facilities and Walkable Community Design

2010
Organizations/Sources: Active Living Research
This article reviews a sizable body of peer-reviewed and independent reports on the economic value of outdoor recreation facilities, open spaces and walkable community design. Open spaces such as parks and recreation areas can increase residential property values and property tax revenues for local governments; it is less expensive to provide roads, water and sewer services to homes in compact, walkable developments than it is to homes in large, suburban developments; and the parks and the open spaces and greenbelts offered by compact walkable neighborhoods create higher housing prices and marketing opportunities.
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Jul 02, 2019
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The Economic Benefits of Virginia's Natural Goods and Services

2011
Authors: Aaron Paul
Organizations/Sources: Piedmont Environmental Council
Virginia’s natural resources provide approximately $21.8 billion/year in ecosystem services. Of this, state and federal public lands provide $5.1 billion and the more than 700,000 acres of private land under conservation easement provide $520 million. The benefits are derived from a protection of water quality and supply, pollination of crops, forest products, farm products, disturbance prevention, habitat that supports the marine resource harvest and carbon sequestration.
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Jul 02, 2019
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The Impact of Open Space and Potential Local Disamenities on Residential Property Values in Berks County, Pennsylvania

2003
Organizations/Sources: Penn State University
This research project estimated the impact of different land uses on residential property values of 8,090 single-family houses in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Within 400 meters of a house, open space had the most positive impact on home prices, and, between 400 and 1600 meters, only government owned land or eased lands positively impacted residential property values.
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Jul 02, 2019
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The Impact of Wilderness and Other Wildlands on Local Economies and Regional Development Trends

Authors: John L. Crompton
Organizations/Sources: USDA Forest Service Proceedings
Although visitor spending in surrounding communities is the most obvious economic impact of wilderness areas, the designation of wilderness areas also attracts new residents and businesses, creates a high number of jobs in recreation-based industries, increases the tax base and has long term benefits for industries such as commercial fisheries. The influx of new residents and businesses can also change a community’s culture, cause a housing shortage and increase crime congestion and crime.
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Jul 02, 2019
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The Value of Open Space: Evidence from Studies of Nonmarket Benefits

2005
Organizations/Sources: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
A review of the now quite extensive economics literature on the value of open space, this study covers more than 60 articles published in the past 25 years that use the various methodologies. The analysis focuses primarily on the value of open space in and around urbanized areas, including parks, greenbelts, natural areas and wildlife habitats, wetlands, and farmland.
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Jul 02, 2019
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The Value of the World’s Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital

1997
Organizations/Sources: Nature
The authors estimated the economic value of 17 ecosystem services for 16 biomes, based on published studies and a few original calculations. For the entire biosphere, the value (most of which is outside the market) is estimated to be between $16 and 54 trillion/year (1997 U.S. dollars), with an average of $33 trillion/year. Because of the nature of the uncertainties, this must be considered a minimum estimate.
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Jul 02, 2019
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Valuing Clean Water: The Return on Environment in the Loyalhanna–Conemaugh and Youghiogheny Watersheds of the Laurel Highlands Region

2019
This study underscores the economic value of clean water in the Laurel Highlands region and illustrates the return on the environment that comes from restoration and conservation projects. Restoring damaged streams, conserving natural habitats, and preserving drinkable and recreationally useful water all provide economic benefit to the region. Incorporating these benefits into policy and funding decisions will help create an environment in which both the economy and the watersheds can thrive.
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Jul 02, 2019
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Valuing New Jersey’s Natural Capital

2007
This provides the results of a study that quantified the annual value of New Jersey’s natural resources and its present value, the amount of money that would need to be invested now to generate an equal level of annual monetary benefits. The total value of New Jersey’s natural capital is about $20 billion per year (present value: $680 billion). It provides services worth between $8.6 and $19.8 billion (present value: $288-660 billion) and goods worth between $2.8 and $9.7 billion (present value: $93-322 billion).
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