Earth Economics works to identify and focus on research topics that inform good investment in communities and result in measureable on-the ground impact.  Our research is independent, non-partisan and goes through peer review processes that respect a wide diversity of approaches and disciplines.  We routinely publish our work in legal, economic and scientific journals.  The documents below provide a sample of our latest papers in PDF format.


Recent Publications

Click On a Thumbnail to Jump to a Report!
  • Title:
    The Economic and Environmental Impact of the William A. Grant Water & Environmental Center at Walla Walla Community College
    Year:
    2014
    Abstract:
    The William A. Grant Water & Environmental Center at Walla Walla Community College has had an $88 million economic and environmental impact since opening in 2007. Earth Economics’ research helped secure continued government funding for the Center.
  • Title:
    Natural Defenses from Hurricanes and Floods
    Year:
    2014
    Abstract:
    This report looks at the growing risks posed by climate change across the United States and the rising costs these are adding up to. Hurricanes, floods and increasing extreme weather events have high financial and human tolls. The report makes a call to increase efficiency and effectiveness in natural hazard management by making more proactive investments and by focusing on the advantages of green infrastructure for reducing risks. Healthy dunes, oyster reefs, barrier islands and wetlands can reduce flood risk more effectively than erecting levees and seawalls. Moreover, the report identifies seven areas of federal and state law in need of improvement.
  • Title:
    Nature’s Value in the Colorado River Basin
    Year:
    2014
    Lead:
    Abstract:
    This study presents an economic characterization of the value of ecosystem services in the Colorado River Basin, a 249,000 square mile region spanning across mountains, plateaus, and low-lying valleys of the American Southwest. Colorado River Basin ecosystems provide a suite of ecosystem services over several land cover types. Several new primary values for ecosystem services in the Colorado River Basin were also derived as part of this study. Whether land is in private or public ownership, that value, in the form of water supply, flood risk reduction, recreation, and other benefits, is distributed across the landscape. The economic vitality of communities depends upon it. Healthy natural systems provide vast economic value, and investing in natural capital provides a high rate of return. Understanding the scale of value provided in the Colorado River Basin provides incentive for investing in healthy landscapes, healthy rivers, and healthy communities.
    You can also view the brochure HERE.
  • Title:
    An Assessment of the Value of Pacific County's Nearshore Ecosystems Economic Data for the Shoreline Master Program Planning Process
    Year:
    2014
    Lead:
    Abstract:
    Earth Economics produced an economic analysis that estimates the value of the ecosystem services provided by natural assets in Pacific County’s nearshore environment. The value of Pacific County’s nearshore ecosystems is approximately $985 million to $4.4 billion dollars per year. We also developed recommendations for the preservation of ecosystems that contribute tangibly to the local economy. With this report, we seek to contribute information so that the public and county decision-makers can better understand the economic context of project planning, policy choices and other requirements, particular to shoreline ecosystems and critical areas throughout the county.
  • Title:
    Healthy Lands & Healthy Economies: Nature’s Value in Santa Clara County
    Year:
    2014
    Abstract:
    This first-ever regional economic valuation demonstrates how natural capital and its benefits directly support Santa Clara County’s economic health and overall well-being. Nature in Sonoma County, home to Silicon Valley, provides benefits valued at $1.6 to $3.9 billion annually. These benefits include clean air, water supply and quality, reduced fire and flood risk, wildlife habitat, pollination, healthy food and recreation. The asset value of Santa Clara County’s natural capital is estimated between $162 and $386 billion.
  • Title:
    Funding Mechanisms for Restoring and Maintaining a Healthy Nisqually Watershed
    Year:
    2014
    Lead:
    Abstract:
    This report identifies several funding mechanisms that generate revenue of approximately $3 million. These resources are needed, in addition to existing sources of funding, to fully implement watershed maintenance and natural asset improvement projects to meet restoration goals of the Nisqually Watershed Recovery Program by 2055.
     
  • Title:
    Evaluación Económico-Ecológica de los Impactos Ambientales en la Cuenca del Bajo Anchicayá por Vertimiento de Lodos de la Central Hidroeléctrica Anchicayá
    Year:
    2014
    Abstract:
    This report entails a technical valuation of the damages associated with the dumping of accumulated dam sediments in the Anchicaya River (on the Pacific Coast of Colombia). This unplanned discharge of more than 500,000 cubic meters of sludge happened on July 21st 2001 and resulted in a shock to vulnerable ecosystems, and severe damage to fish and shellfish. In addition, there was a scarcity of potable water, crop damage, and harm to riverine and coastal mangroves. Using the best available science and the most appropriate valuation methods, Earth Economics with Fundacion Neotropica, conducted an assessment and economic valuation of the damages. The valuation emphasized ecosystem connectivity, market, and non-market environmental impacts.
     
  • Title:
    Using Model Integration to Create Baseline Carbon Budgets in the Snohomish River Basin
    Year:
    2014
    Abstract:
    This report presents a framework for scientists, academic institutions, and land stewards to integrate existing biophysical models within a single modeling platform, allowing for model interactions and more robust systemic outputs from all models. This enables more fully informed, and better decisions concerning land use planning, salmon restoration, storm water projects, forestry practices, flood risk reduction and other areas. The Multi-scale Integrated Models of Ecosystem Services (MIMES) demonstrates in this study how current demographic and ecological trends place immense pressure on the natural environment further threatened by climate change creating significant economic implications. MIMES is the first platform used to integrate existing local, national, and global models to systemically answer questions related to sea-level rise, flood risk, and restoration needs.
     
  • Title:
    Nature's Value in Clallam County: Policy Implications of the Economic Benefits of Feeder Bluffs and 12 Other Ecosystems
    Year:
    2013
    Lead:
    Abstract:
    This report provides the first comprehensive economic assessment of Clallam County’s natural landscapes. Comprised of two separate valuations: a ‘primary’ valuation of feeder bluff ecosystems. Using biophysical data, the economic value of sediment provided by coastal cliffs to beaches down current was calculated. The term feeder bluff is applied particularly to headlands and bluffs of the Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. And a ‘benefit transfer’ economic valuation of ecosystem services found across all Clallam County’s land covers. The results of this study can be used to inform the county’s Shoreline Master Program update currently underway, and will enable stakeholders to better understand the economic importance of land use policies such as No Net Loss, setbacks, and other requirements along the shoreline and within other critical areas throughout Clallam County.
  • Title:
    Factsheet: Nature's Value in Clallam County: Policy Implications of the Economics Benefits of Feeder Bluffs and 12 Other Ecosystems
    Year:
    2013
    Abstract:
    This one page fact sheet serves as a quick overview of the extended report: Policy Implications of the Economics Benefits of Feeder Bluffs and 12 Other Ecosystems. The fact sheet highlights the major findings in the report: countywide values of ecosystem services produced by different land cover types and primary valuations of specific nearshore ecosystems, such as feeder bluffs. Given the need and interest to conserve the shoreline, a short list of recommendations offer initial solutions in best land management practices and other important policy implications.
  • Title:
    The Economic Impact of the 2013 Rim Fire on Natural Lands
    Year:
    2013
    Lead:
    Abstract:
    This rapid assessment provides an economic valuation and analysis of the damage caused by the 2013 Rim Fire (in California) to the environmental benefits within the burn area. In the first year after the Rim Fire, environmental benefit losses are estimated to range from $100 million to $736 million.
  • Title:
    The Natural Economy of Alaska’s Matanuska-Susitna Basin
    Year:
    2013
    Lead:
    Abstract:
    This study presents an economic characterization of the value of ecosystem services in the Matanuska-Susitna Basin (Mat-Su), which is a 24,300 square mile area located north of Anchorage, Alaska within the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Mat-Su ecosystems provide a suite of ecosystem services including abundant fishing and hunting, drinking water, flood control, and world-renowned recreational opportunities. This study looks at the economic value provided by these ecosystems. We used benefit transfer methodology frequently applied by agencies worldwide in their decision making on natural resources. The method is similar to a house or business appraisal in that it relies on available information from studies already completed from another location and/or context. Besides conducting this literature review, we used Geographic
    Information Systems data to identify and estimate the value of ecosystem services in the Mat-Su. This assessment informs regional planners and governments in their decisions affecting local and regional economies and quality of life for residents.
  • Title:
    A Handbook for Understanding Natural Capital
    Year:
    2013
    Abstract:
    A fully illustrated guide and accessible handbook for understanding Nature’s Economic Value. This handbook was written for watershed managers, foresters, farmers, planners, landscape architects, water utilities and anyone interested in their community’s natural resources. Large quantities of printed handbooks for educational purposes can be purchased through Earth Economics by emailing info@eartheconomics.org. We welcome stories of how you used this publication and any feedback you have can be sent to info@eartheconomics.org.
  • Title:
    FEMA Environmental Benefits Mitigation Policy FP-108-024-01
    Year:
    2013
    Lead:
     
    Abstract:
    The purpose of this policy is to identify and quantify the types of environmental benefits FEMA will consider in the BCA for acquisition projects.
  • Title:
    Return on Investment Analysis of Flood Risk Management Solutions for Pierce County
    Year:
    2013
    Lead:
    Abstract:
    This report focuses on three regulations in particular: Channel Migration Zones, Deep and/or Fast Flowing Floodways, and Compensatory Storage. Three case studies examining flood-prone locations in the Puyallup Watershed are used to demonstrate the value of the regulations that facilitate good floodplain management.
  • Title:
    Industrial Footprint Project
    Year:
    2005
    Lead:
    Abstract:
    Earth Economics worked in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Ecology to develope a draft sustainability measurement (“footprint”)tool and scores for 4 pulp and paper facilities.
  • Title:
    What’s the Economy for, Anyway?
    Year:
    2011
    Abstract:
    The issue of the economy is unquestionably one of the most pressing in America today, and solutions cannot wait. "What's the Economy for, Anyway?" is a film - and now book! - that covers many of the issues within the larger economic question, including the efficacy of the GDP as a dominant economic measure, tax policies favoring the wealthy, frayed health and social safety nets, and a tattered environment.



General Publications
The Ecosystem Promise Meinder Brouwer - David K. Batker, contributor

What is Ecological Economics?

Sustainability through a New Economic Paradigm for the 21st Century

Common Terms in Ecological Economics