Restoration of Wetland Services: Economic Gains to the Farmland Owner

The objective of this analysis is to describe and, if possible, measure gains that farmland owners may have seen because of the public's demand for wetland services. To do so, we first consider landowners' ability to directly sell onsite (hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing) and offsite (water quality, groundwater recharge, etc.) wetland services. We found little evidence that landowners sell wetland services. We then consider farmland owners' gains from the mitigation banking system. We found that, with less than 200 approved mitigation banks on farmland, farmland owners had some but limited opportunities to participate in mitigation markets. Finally, we consider landowners' gains from the sale of wetland easements through the USDA's Wetland Reserve Program (WRP). Although we are unable to quantify any gains, the popularity of the program suggests that landowners do gain by participating - since the mid-1990's, more landowners have tried to enroll than program limits allow. Furthermore, two factors suggest that WRP gains are widespread. First, WRP easements have been sold in every State. And second, easement prices have increased over time which may indicate that owners of higher-valued lands may be seeing opportunities to participate.

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Selected Paper 173417

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

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