Journal Article

Policy Analysis: Valuation of Ecosystem Services in the Southern Appalachian Mountains

Feb 12, 2016 | H. Spencer Banzhaf, Dallas Burtraw, Susie Chung Criscimagna, Bernard J. Cosby, David A. Evans, Alan J. Krupnick, Juha Siikamäki

Abstract

This study estimates the economic value of an increase in ecosystem services attributable to the reduced acidification expected from more stringent air pollution policy. By integrating a detailed biogeochemical model that projects future ecological recovery with economic methods that measure preferences for specific ecological improvements, we estimate the economic value of ecological benefits from new air pollution policies in the Southern Appalachian ecosystem. Our results indicate that these policies generate aggregate benefits of about $3.7 billion, or about $16 per year per household in the region. The study provides currently missing information about the ecological benefits from air pollution policies that is needed to evaluate such policies comprehensively. More broadly, the study also illustrates how integrated biogeochemical and economic assessments of multidimensional ecosystems can evaluate the relative benefits of different policy options that vary by scale and across ecosystem attributes.