An Empirical Analysis of Climate Uncertainty and Land-use Transitions in the U.S. Pacific and Mountain Regions

This paper uses most recent plot-level data from the National Resource Inventory (NRI) over the period 2002 to 2012. Using these data with county-level land-use net returns, we first examine the land-use transitions among crop, pasture, range, forest, urban and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and find that land-use net returns are the main determinants from land-use transitions and land with low soil quality is more likely to be used for low-productive land activities, such as grazing. Second, we predict land-use changes under future climate projections using projected land-use net returns from hedonic regressions for crop, pasture, range, forest and urban. Our estimation results of the land-use model are consistent to economic theory as well as to previous literature that we have positive coefficients on crop and urban land use net returns and negative coefficients on the transition costs. We also find that crop and pasture land use net returns increase as the mean precipitation increase and pastureland net return is reduced if growing season degree-days are increased, suggesting the substation effects between crop and pasture land use when the temperature is optimal for plant growing. When predict into the future, we find the expansion of urban land with expenses of crop and CRP land.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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