A Conceptual Framework and Benefit Transfer for Valuation of Select Ecosystem Goods and Services Provided by the Wetlands of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Patton, D. A.
Bergstrom, John C.
Moore , R.
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The USFWS manages the National Wildlife Refuge System, which is the world’s premier example of public lands designated for their wildlife habitat value. We examine the feasibility of estimating the economic value of ecosystem services supported by wetlands in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Southeast Georgia, using existing economic and ecological information. Estimates of economic values from flows of ecosystem services are intended to augment the NWR economic impact data analysis currently used and implemented by the USFWS. We specifically examine wetlands in the Okefenokee NWR and estimate gross economic values for the following subset of ecosystem services which have received a relatively strong treatment in the valuation literature: flood control, nutrient cycling, recreational fishing and hunting, wildlife observation, and commercial fishing. We use benefit transfer techniques with multiple-regression coefficients taken from two published meta-analysis studies (Brander, et al., 2006, Woodward and Wui, 2001,) to predict valuation results. Due to a rejection of the hypothesis of convergent validity across primary valuation estimators in the original meta-analysis studies, we present a series of value estimates, each conditional on regression predictions for a particular primary valuation technique. Additionally, we separately predict the net present value of wetland carbon pools for the supporting ecosystem service, carbon dioxide storage. Using benefit transfer values or prices for a unit mass of stored carbon dioxide derived from carbon market prices and Nordhaus 1991, we estimate the gross welfare effects of stored carbon in wetlands of the Okefenokee NWR. Our results are presented as partial, gross economic values attributable to NWR designation. We discuss the applicability of partial as well as gross economic values.