Estimating the Economic Impacts of Ecosystem Restoration—Methods and Case Studies | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
December 2016
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 
UNCCD:1517
Pages: 
104

Federal investments in ecosystem restoration projects protect Federal trusts, ensure public health and safety, and preserve and enhance essential ecosystem services. These investments also generate business activity and create jobs. It is important for restoration practitioners to be able to quantify the economic impacts of individual restoration projects in order to communicate the contribution of these activities to local and national stakeholders. This report provides a detailed description of the methods used to estimate economic impacts of case study projects and also provides suggestions, lessons learned, and trade-offs between potential analysis methods.

This analysis estimates the economic impacts of a wide variety of ecosystem restoration projects associated with U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) lands and programs. Specifically, the report provides estimated economic impacts for 21 DOI restoration projects associated with Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration cases and Bureau of Land Management lands. The study indicates that ecosystem restoration projects provide meaningful economic contributions to local economies and to broader regional and national economies, and, based on the case studies, we estimate that between 13 and 32 job-years4 and between $2.2 and $3.4 million in total economic output5 are contributed to the U.S. economy for every $1 million invested in ecosystem restoration. These results highlight the magnitude and variability in the economic impacts associated with ecosystem restoration projects and demonstrate how investments in ecosystem restoration support jobs and livelihoods, small businesses, and rural economies. In addition to providing improved information on the economic impacts of restoration, the case studies included with this report highlight DOI restoration efforts and tell personalized stories about each project and the communities that are positively affected by restoration activities. Individual case studies are provided in appendix 1 of this report and are available from an online database at https://www.fort.usgs.gov/economic-impacts-restoration.

Across the United States, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, tribes, private industries, scientists, public land managers, and private land owners are teaming up to restore the Nation’s ecosystems, thereby restoring wildlife habitat and ecosystem services lost from natural and manmade disasters and revitalizing chronically stressed ecosystems such as forests, prairies, and coastlines. This diverse set of stakeholders pool their financial resources, scientific and technical capacity, regulatory knowledge, heavy equipment and labor resources, and local environmental knowledge to unite as a coordinated system, a “restoration economy” (Baker, 2005). Together, these participants are restoring U.S. lands and waters and, in doing so, are supporting jobs and livelihoods, small businesses, and rural economies. The projects demonstrate that environmental stewardship and economic development can in fact be synergistic, as the process of ecological restoration directly contributes towards socioeconomic well-being (Baker, 2005; Goad and others, 2011; Southwick Associates, 2013; BenDor and others, 2015).

It is important for restoration practitioners to be able to quantify the economic impacts of restoration projects in order to communicate the contribution of these activities to local and national stakeholders. This information can garner support from stakeholders and can be useful for local planning and economic development agencies. Given constrained budgets and competing demands for investment, information on the economic impacts of individual restoration projects helps demonstrate the socioeconomic contributions of projects in addition to the ecological contributions. In many cases, this information can inform public stakeholders and decision makers during planning processes (for example, as part of the National Environmental Policy Act planning process).

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Thomas,Catherine Cullinane
Huber, Christopher
Skrabis, Kristin
Sidon, Joshua

Data provider

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (UNCCD) is a Convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.


 

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