Integrated Modeling and Ecological ValuationEPA Grant Number: R831596
Title: Integrated Modeling and Ecological Valuation
Investigators: Brookshire, David S. , Brand, Arriana , Chermak, Janie , Colby, Bonnie G. , Goodrich, David , Loomis, John , Maddock III, Thomas , Richter, Holly , Stewart, Steven , Stromberg, Julie
Institution: University of New Mexico , Arizona State University - Main Campus , University of Arizona
Current Institution: University of New Mexico , Arizona State University - Main Campus , Colorado State University , Nature Conservancy, The , University of Arizona
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: May 1, 2004 through April 30, 2007
Project Amount: $386,213
RFA: Valuation for Environmental Policy (2003) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Economics and Decision Sciences
The objective is to perform an economic valuation of ecological attributes for the San Pedro River Region in Arizona linking realistic policy scenarios with an integrated hydro-bio-economic model that includes alternative hydrologic, riparian and bird profiles. This project is unusual in that it links nonmarket valuation tools with interdisciplinary natural science efforts already in progress. Consequently, valuation results will be strongly tied to current science. Our team includes hydrologists, ecologists, ornithologists, geospatial geographers, and economists, some of whom participate in the Upper San Pedro Partnership, a community watershed organization of government, environmental NGO, and water company representatives who cooperate to resolve water management issues in the Upper San Pedro River.
Two stated-preference methods, choice models and dichotomous choice contingent valuation models, will be utilized to measure value for changes in ecological attributes. We will examine: 1) convergent validity for single attribute and policy (multiple attribute) valuation across methods; 2) conduct traditional tests of scope and embedding; and 3) examine differences between on-site and Internet survey formats. Further, a suite of benefit transfer functions will be constructed for two sites, San Pedro River and Bosque del Apache in New Mexico (both semi-arid riparian bird sanctuaries). Focus groups will inform survey design and drive information requirements for the integrated model by identifying what resource changes are meaningful. Three natural science information gradients representing differing levels of scientific and demographic information available in benefit transfer settings will be used to define the “commodity” or “attributes of value” for our studies and will be incorporated into an Economic Valuation and Visualization System (EVVS). This system will allow direct user interaction with model-based projections of environmental characteristics affecting valuation. Using the natural science and economic outputs from the EVVS, we will integrate the hydrologic, riparian, bird, and economic models to examine how these areas would be affected by climatic and anthropogenic changes.
Both policy inputs and methodological advances are expected. This project will help fill the need for reliable valuation information in evaluating preservation options in the semi-arid West. Three central methodological results will be achieved: 1) a fully integrated framework using the best science and alternative economic methods; 2) methodological insights into stated preference valuation frameworks; and 3) alternative benefit transfer functions relying upon alternative information gradients.