Economic and environmental implications of alternative landscape designs in the Walnut Creek watershed of Iowa

Colette Coiner, Junjie Wu, Stephen Polasky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper evaluates the economic and environmental impacts of three alternative landscape scenarios created by a team of landscape architects, following input from an interdisciplinary team of researchers. In the first scenario, the main objective was to increase production and profitability of commercial agriculture with environmental objectives given secondary weight. In the second scenario, water quality improvements were the main objective with secondary objectives being financial health of the agricultural sector and maintenance and restoration of biodiversity. In the third scenario, maintenance and restoration of native biodiversity was the main objective with secondary weight given to the financial health of the agricultural sector and water quality. We evaluate the degree to which the economic and environmental objectives can be achieved together or involve tradeoffs. We found that some changes in land use or agricultural practices result in environmental improvements on certain dimensions in addition to making economic sense. But most changes in land use or agricultural practice do not bring uniform environmental improvement. There may be difficult tradeoffs between different components of environmental quality in addition to tradeoffs between economic and environmental objectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-139
Number of pages21
JournalEcological Economics
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was a part of a project funded by US EPA under grant #R825335-01. We thank the project PI Mary Santelmann and Kelly Vache for help with the GIS data, as well as other members of the project. We thank seminar participants at the Heartland Environmental Resource Economics Conference in Ames, Iowa, in September, 1999, and three referees for helpful comments.

Copyright:
Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Environmental quality
  • Farm profit
  • Landscape design
  • Water quality

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