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Abstract

Over the past few decades the management of public old growth forest in the United States has been the focus of public debate. The tradeoffs between timber harvesting and amenity benefits of standing forests have been a key issue in this debate with national forest managers critiqued for both harvesting old growth forests too slowly or too quickly. To date there has been little analysis of the actual values placed on amenity benefits of old growth on national forests. The objective of this study is to analyze old growth forest management on U.S. national forests including the implicit amenity values of national forest managers. Using a data set from western Washington we estimate the implicit values of non-timber services by U.S. national forest managers. The average non-timber service changes during the study period, and increases as the stock of old growth forest decreases. The estimated value of per acre non-timber services is considerably higher than the values from previous studies. The results also suggest that national forest managers have at least partially recognized the non-timber benefits of old growth forests.

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