Matu-Su 2040 Future Survey

(Valuation of Ecosystem Services)

NANA Development Corporation
Courtesy of NANA Development Corporation.

The Mat-Su Open Space Economic Valuation of Ecosystem Services Project is a two and a half year project that will identify and provide an economic analysis of green infrastructure and ecosystem services in the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Basin. The purpose of the study is to build a case study and practical application tools to be used state-wide for non-market valuation of ecosystem services. The primary focus of this study will be on the role and funding of natural systems for flood risk management, power generation, water quality, habitat for salmon and other fish and wildlife, recreation and natural resource provisioning. This work will facilitate discussion of sustainable regional planning and resource management.

This work will emphasize valuing salmon and other wildlife habitat in sparsely populated areas as direct contributors to the health and vitality of Alaska's more densely populated areas. We hope our findings can be used as a basis for future investment in conservation and economic development at a sustainable scale.

Courtesy of National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

A primary output of this project will be a comprehensive "Nature's Value" report for decisionmakers, describing the industries, economic factors, and ecosystem goods, services, and natural assets that are crucial to natural resource management in the Mat-Su. The study will also identify dollar values for the basin's natural assets, so they can be included in common economic tools such as cost-benefit analysis (CBA), return on investment analysis (ROI), and funding mechanisms for natural capital.

The report will, among other things:

1. Identify all the natural assets contributing ecosystem services to the local economy;

2. Place dollar values on the natural assets of the Mat-Su, agricultural areas, forests, wetlands and estuaries, open space and recreational lands;

3. Provide comprehensive economic data to support natural resource management and conservation projects;

4. Provide information for more comprehensive salmon protection and water quality planning in the basin;

5. Provide a basis for prioritizing public works projects, by indentifying their public benefits;

6. Discuss how agencies and stakeholders can apply the findings in the study to minimize externalities and bolster the local economy;

7. Provide a framework to facilitate investment in natural capital as a vital part of economic development.

8. Serve as a case study for other regions of the state.

ISER is applying different economic valuation techniques such as hedonic valuation, discrete choice experiments, and benefit transfer, to provide non-market values associated with the ecosystem services supplied by open space in the Mat-Su. ISER principal investigators include: Dr. Matt Berman, Dr. Steve Colt, and Tobias Schwörer.

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Page Updated: 9/24/13