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.
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.
This annotated bibliography presents a review of literature on ecosystem service valuation. It includes national and international studies regarding the theoretical thinking behind the valuation of ecosystem services, the empirical valuation of ecosystem services and ecosystem service valuation in areas such as the measurement of the multifunctional attributes of agriculture.
Examines the benefits of conserving forests (such as reduced flood risk and improved water quality) and threats to forest conservation, specifically in the American South.
The destruction of mangroves has a strong economic impact on local fishing communities and on food production in the region. Mangrove-related fish and crab species account for 32% of the small-scale fisheries landings in the region. The annual economic median value of these fisheries is $37,500 per hectare of mangrove fringe, falling within the higher end of values previously calculated worldwide for all mangrove services together.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment was called for by the United Nations. It assessed the consequences of ecosystem change for human wellbeing and the scientific basis for action needed to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of those systems and their contribution to human wellbeing. The findings provide a state-of-the-art scientific appraisal of the condition and trends in the world’s ecosystems, the services they provide, and the options to restore, conserve or enhance the sustainable use of ecosystems.
Study identifying watersheds on the Gulf Coast vulnerable to flooding and the most important land in those watersheds to protect in order to reduce the risk of flooding and damage to communities.
Healthy, functioning watersheds slow surface runoff, increase water infiltration into the soil, naturally filter pollutants, decrease soil erosion, and moderate water quantity by decreasing flooding and recharging groundwater reserves. For every 10% increase in forest cover in a drinking water’s source area, treatment and chemical costs decrease by approximately 20%. This report presents a series of best practices on source protection and gives case studies of communities that have effectively linked land protection, water protection and water treatment cost savings.
Study estimates that undeveloped floodplains and wetlands along Otter Creek saved Middlebury, Vermont $1.8 billion in flood damage during Tropical Storm Irene and reduced damage by 54–78% across nine other flood events. The annual value of the flood-mitigation provided by the open space is as high as $450,000 per year.
A first-ever analysis released by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation finds that the economic benefits provided by nature in the Chesapeake Bay watershed will total $130 billion annually when the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the regional plan to restore the Bay, is fully implemented. The Economic Benefits of Cleaning up the Chesapeake also reveals that in Pennsylvania, those annual benefits will approach $40 billion.
Study calculates the economic benefits of the city's parks, including $18 million net income from tourist spending, $30 million in boosted property values, and $804,000 million in stormwater management savings.
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.
Study calculates the economic benefits of the county's parks, including $19 million net income from tourist spending, $10 million in boosted property values, and $4 million in savings from reduced air pollution.
Presentation regarding ecosystem services.
Green infrastructure is a network of decentralized stormwater management practices such as preservation of undeveloped areas near a water source, green roofs, tree planting, rain gardens and permeable pavement. This paper gives an overview of the methods used to measure the benefits of green infrastructure on water, energy savings, improved air quality, climate change mitigation, urban heat island mitigation, improved community livability and improved habitat. Multiple case studies are provided.
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.
American Forests analyzed the Delaware Valley region to provide community leaders with detailed information about the region's tree cover and its environmental and economic impacts. It documents the landscape changes that have occurred over time and identifies the impact these changes have made on the environmental services provided by the region’s urban forests. In addition, American Forests created a “green data layer” –a digital tool that local communities can use to integrate urban forest ecology into future planning.
Fact sheet explaining ecosystem services.
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).