Economic -ecological relationships in coastal wetland restoration

Gisele Marie Magnusson, University of Rhode Island

Abstract

Proactive coastal wetland restoration addresses historical losses and is not for compensatory regulation. Such restoration requires a net benefits economic framework. This dissertation, in three manuscripts, addresses three aspects necessary to implement this net benefits framework. ^ The first manuscript used a dynamic analytical model to show that restoration should start at a high level and decline to take advantage of the natural maturity in wetland attributes. The model identifies needed information which is not currently available, including information on the maturity relationships between wetland attributes and wetland functions, the public's marginal values for wetland functions and the marginal costs of alternative restoration actions. ^ The second manuscript used a ratings survey of 73 wetland professionals to estimate the relative change in wetland habitat functions due to restoration for 10 wetland species groups (including birds, fish and shellfish). The models showed a strong agreement among respondents on the importance of size and share of marsh that is covered by Spartina spp. for all species groups, with higher levels of these attributes resulting in an increased probability that the wetland would be rated as having a moderate to high habitat potential. An example shows how the results can be used to estimate the change in habitat potential due to restoration; the results can be used to estimate the economic benefits due to restoration. ^ The third manuscript examined the cost-effectiveness of three eelgrass restoration techniques (mechanical seeding, broadcast seeding and TERFS transplants). A Monte Carlo simulation illustrated that ecological uncertainty regarding shoot establishment and survival had a major impact on costs. The transplant method had the lowest estimated cost per surviving shoot, followed by mechanical seeding and broadcast seeding. The study showed that while labor costs must be addressed for the mechanical seeding method, addressing low and highly variable establishment and survival rates may have a larger impact on seeding costs. ^

Subject Area

Biology, Ecology|Economics, Agricultural|Engineering, Environmental

Recommended Citation

Gisele Marie Magnusson, "Economic -ecological relationships in coastal wetland restoration" (2006). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3225321.
http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dissertations/AAI3225321

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