American Journal of Applied Sciences

Forest Policy Impact Assessment in the Ouachita National Forest and the Valuation of Conserving Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers

Difei Zhang, Michael M. Huebschmann, Thomas B. Lynch and James M. Guldin

DOI : 10.3844/ajassp.2010.1345.1352

American Journal of Applied Sciences

Volume 7, Issue 10

Pages 1345-1352

Abstract

Problem statement: The Ouachita National Forest received approval in 1996 for an amendment to its Forest Plan that would allocate 10% of the Forest to long-rotation silviculture. The purpose of the new management area is to restore pre-European settlement forest conditions and recreate habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Approach: This study explored the effects of restoring an ecosystem, from changes in the growth patterns of individual trees to ecosystem valuation of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. It developed procedures for estimating the magnitude of economic impacts resulting from changes in timber production in the pine-bluestem management to project the value of conserving red-cockaded woodpeckers. Results: Over the entire simulation period, pine-bluestem management returns 75% of the undiscounted revenue generated by traditional management (660 versus 875 million dollars). For all 40,245 ha of the new management area managed for pine-bluestem, this cost amounts to $2.9 million per year. When combined with the $137 million decline in the present value of projected timber sale revenue from the area, the total cost rises to $4.2 million per year. Conclusion: The implied value for each pair of woodpeckers is either $10,550 per year for the desired 400 total pairs or $16,880 per year for the 250 reproducing pairs. Judging from the changes resulting from the transition to pine-bluestem management, adopting the new scenario will not cause significant adverse regional economic consequences. The success of the pine-bluestem restoration requires the maintenance of a burning regime that prevents competing vegetation from occupying the middle canopy layer.

Copyright

© 2010 Difei Zhang, Michael M. Huebschmann, Thomas B. Lynch and James M. Guldin. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.