Working Lands

Working Lands

We Provide What Leaders Need


Quantification of the economic benefits of working lands

Assessment of best practices for sustainable production

Why working lands matter


Working lands are foundational to our economy and quality of life, whether they support agriculture, animal production, or forestry. From food to timber, working lands provide essential products. Population growth and accelerating urban development are increasing pressure on these lands, impacting future generations. However, working lands can be managed using best practices that support healthy ecosystems, resilient communities, and sustainable production.


Photo Credit:  Richard Hurd via  Flickr

Photo Credit: Richard Hurd via Flickr

Our Approach


Promoting Farmland Preservation

In assessing farmland, we look at the value of agricultural products and a host of other benefits that farmlands provide. Farmlands are inextricably tied to cultural heritage and a way of life, and they provide services like carbon sequestration and flood risk reduction. Too often, farmland is divided and developed without a full understanding of the value lost. We support communities’ farmland preservation efforts, especially along rapidly developing suburban fringe areas.


Informing Best Management Practices

Our economic assessments help land managers demonstrate the value of enhanced management practices to their own bottom line and to the community. We assess the environmental, social, and financial benefits of adopting best management practices in agriculture and forestry so that stakeholders can make well-informed decisions about where to invest and how best to manage lands over time.


Banner Photo Credit: Mary Stephens



We Provide What Leaders Need


Strategies to fund watershed restoration and stewardship

Solutions for freshwater management

Why freshwater matters


A clean, abundant water supply – from drinking water to agricultural and industrial supply – is absolutely essential to our health and well-being, a critical component in building resilient communities. Healthy watersheds also support many ecosystem services, sustaining biodiversity and helping maintain resilient, productive ecosystems. Yet, many of our water sources are threatened by drought, depletion, and pollution. Employing economic analysis that takes nature into account can help us effectively tackle these challenges in policy and planning.

Photo Credit:  Pascal Walschots via  Flickr

Photo Credit: Pascal Walschots via Flickr

Our Approach


Supporting Watershed Restoration and Stewardship

We provide communities with innovative funding options for watershed restoration and stewardship so that both ecosystems and communities can benefit. Our strategies assist decision makers in confidently investing in projects and systems that support conservation and restoration to promote long-term ecological and fiscal health.


Informing Policy and Planning for Freshwater Ecosystems

Effective planning for freshwater management begins with a full understanding of a watershed's value. We assess the value of forests, rivers, aquifers, and snowpack for communities and lead workshops to educate stakeholders about the critical connections between their watershed and the resilience of their community. With this understanding, decision makers are empowered to manage freshwater assets in a way that supports the health of their watersheds and communities.



WE Provide What Leaders Need


Strategies to restore coastal areas

Assessment of marine habitat protection options

Why Healthy Oceans matter


Oceans and natural coastal areas are remarkably beneficial to humans – providing fisheries for food, supporting livelihoods through coastal recreation and economic activity around ports, stabilizing our climate by sequestering and storing carbon, and buffering communities from storms and tsunamis. But the risks are growing – sea-level rise, ocean acidification, nutrient pollution, warmer water temperatures, and development pressures present critical challenges. Protecting and restoring oceans and coasts supports the critical ecosystems that sustain our way of life and underpin a thriving economy.

Photo Credit:  MinJae Kim via  Flickr

Photo Credit: MinJae Kim via Flickr

Our Approach


Supporting coastal restoration

Our analyses help to build an understanding of our critical assets – natural shorelines, barrier islands, and healthy estuaries – along coastal areas. We provide communities with innovative options for funding protection and restoration so that ecosystems and communities both thrive.


Informing management policy for oceans and coastal areas

We help communities identify opportunities to protect and preserve natural marine resources while balancing economic and social outcomes. From informing shoreline master planning to helping communities justify new marine protected areas, we help leaders make balanced decisions that protect resources, steward the environment, and serve the needs of local communities.

Photo Credit:  finchlake2000 via  Flickr

Photo Credit: finchlake2000 via Flickr



We Provide what Leaders need


Forest management and watershed protection appraisals

Solutions to fund and prioritize protection and stewardship efforts

Why healthy forests matter


Forests are some of our most valuable natural assets – they provide climate stability, serve as carbon sinks, support a clean water supply, and sustain communities, especially indigenous groups and rural communities. Too often, their many economic benefits – from supporting biodiversity to restoring human health and well-being - are left out of decision making. Human development and climate change pose increasing threats. Global agricultural demands are driving deforestation and fires, droughts, and invasive species are damaging precious resources. Yet forests are truly resilience anchors – supporting climate mitigation, disaster risk reduction, drinking water supplies and other critical benefits. Sustainable forest management can help protect our forests.

Photo Credit:  Miguel Vieira via  Flickr

Photo Credit: Miguel Vieira via Flickr

Our Approach


Raising awareness of the value of forest ecosystems

Communities and decision makers are often simply unaware of the full value of forest ecosystems. We look at the broad benefits of forests – from large-scale impacts like influencing climate to local benefits like recreational opportunities, habitat, and water filtration. By identifying and monetizing the benefits that forests offer, we demonstrate their immense worth so that decision makers can make the best choices about how and where to invest.


Supporting protection and stewardship efforts that reduce wildfire risk, maximize carbon capture, and build biodiversity

Healthy forests capture and store carbon – in trees, soil, plants – and support rich biodiversity along with a range of ecosystem services, such as water filtration and flood risk reduction. At Earth Economics, we analyze and inform sustainable land use practices that assess and reduce wildfire risk, support carbon capture, and grow biodiversity. Our analyses help decision makers to make the best choices for climate mitigation initiatives and for supporting ecosystem services.



We Provide What Leaders Need


Cost-effective, nature-based solutions to address development pressures

Local strategies to mitigate flood, sea-level rise, fire, and drought

Quantification of the value open space provides to economic development, human health, and recreation

Why resilient communities matter


Resilience means that communities are able to withstand and grow through sudden shocks and long-term stresses. Truly resilient communities fully consider nature in planning and understand that a healthy environment enables a robust economy and strengthens equitable communities. The challenges to communities are clear – pollution, flooding, loss of green space, extreme weather, sea level rise. Planning that recognizes nature’s value can maximize people’s health and well-being, improve overall quality of life, and support sustainable economic development.

Photo Credit:  liz west via  Flickr

Photo Credit: liz west via Flickr

Our Approach


Relieving the pressures of development through nature-based planning

Our analysis and training helps local planners understand and apply green infrastructure alternatives in combination with traditional methods to create innovative, cost-effective, and sustainable solutions to community development and planning challenges like urban sprawl and economic inequity. We work to build awareness, evaluate place-based projects, and recommend policies and funding alternatives to build economic and social resilience.


Supporting climate adaptation efforts

Our work supports communities in their climate adaptation efforts as extreme weather and disastrous floods, fires, and droughts become increasingly common. We help identify and manage the financial and environmental risks to communities and craft long-term, cost-effective natural infrastructure solutions that provide protection, reduce losses, and minimize taxpayer expense.  The burden of disasters often falls on low-income and minority residents. Our research illuminates these important connections and identifies more equitable alternatives.


Raising awareness of the value of trails, parks, and open space

We assess the value of trails, parks, and open space in cities, on the urban fringe, and in remote wilderness areas. Our work helps communities conserve important public lands that support economic development, human health, and recreation. We illustrate the importance of recreation to rural communities by identifying the diverse industry of small, local businesses that can be built around a robust recreation economy. Our studies have supported the passage of recreation bonds and legislation that will sustain public lands far into the future.


Banner Photo Credit: Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management via Flickr