2018 publications

Earth Economics provides a range of consulting services, groundbreaking economic research, and technology innovations to help organizations, investors, policy makers, and foundations make better decisions. Explore our services to see how you can take communities, nature, and economic vitality into account.


The Natural value of discovery park:
The public benefits of seattle’s largest park

Seattle is known for its dramatic coastline, mountain vistas, and its thriving public parks. In fact, Seattle has one of the most robust public park systems in the county. And the crown jewel, an open space that embodies the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, is none other than Discovery Park. Every year Discovery Park provides more than $1 million, on average, worth of ecosystem goods and services.

Key Words: Forestry, Urban, Park, Seattle, Washington, Climate Stability, Air Regulation, Carbon Storage, Carbon Sequestration, Water Quality, Water Storage, Biological Control, Habitat


The Natural Value of Meadowdale Beach Park:
A benefit-Cost analysis of the meadowdale beach park
and estuary restoration project

As one of Latin America’s fastest growing populations, Panama’s economy depends on nature. The communities within the Panama District rely on benefits provided by 11 ecosystem services, which contribute over $1.6 billion each year in critical ecosystem services from the surrounding watershed.

Key Words: Benefit-Cost Analysis, Snohomish County, Park, Meadowdale Beach Park, Snohomish County Parks and Recreation, Endangered Species Act

Gem of the emerald corridor
nature’s value in the mt. baker-snoqualmie national forest

The Emerald Corridor comprises one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation, with a regional economy of $347 billion and a population of 4.5 million people and counting, the Emerald Corridor is an important economy on the rise. Our analysis investigates how nature is driving this growth, and the results are pretty eye-opening. If we view the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (MBSNF) as a natural asset that will provide valuable services, products, and jobs to our regional economy for at least 100 years its total asset value is estimated to be $1 trillion.

Key Words: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, MBSNF, Emerald Corridor, Washington State, Pacific Northwest, Trillion, Ecosystem Services Analysis, Johnny Mojica, Tania Briceno, Corrine Armistead

The economic value of natural capital in
Panama City’s Watersheds and associated ecosystems

As one of Latin America’s fastest growing populations, Panama’s economy depends on nature. The communities within the Panama District rely on benefits provided by 11 ecosystem services, which contribute over $1.6 billion each year in critical ecosystem services from the surrounding watershed.

The natural value of forest park
an ecosystem services valuation of
america’s premier urban forest

Forest Park is a natural asset that provides a broad range of public benefits to Portland residents. The ecosystems within the park sequester carbon, purify the air, filter water, provide habitat for an array of species, and offer unparalleled opportunities for Portland residents to recreate outdoors. As one of the largest urban forests in the United States, it takes a considerable effort to protect and maintain the park, particularly as climate change, invasive species, urban growth, and development and recreational pressures take their toll on the Park’s environmental health.

Go Green:
Muni Bond financing for distributed water solutions

A Primer for Water Leaders on how to Debt-Finance Distributed Infrastructure Projects and Consumer Rebates. The past couple of years we’ve worked to strengthen our partnership and influence with the General Accounting Standards Board (GASB), which sets accounting rules for state and local governments throughout the country. By helping GASB clarify the use of one of its standards – a clarification that was recently published in GASB’s 2018 Implementation Guide – we opened a way for state and local agencies to count natural capital as assets.

Key Words: Finance, Accounting, Investment, Guide, Bonds, Municipalities, Green Infrastructure, GASB 62, FASB, SASB, Government, Resilience, Public Utilities

The food that grows out of the water
The economic benefits of wild rice in minnesota

Wild rice has been a significant contributor to Minnesota’s economy for decades and continues to be one to this day. In 2011, Minnesota began a renewed effort to investigate the effects of aquatic sulfate pollution on wild rice with the possibility of modifying its current sulfate standard and adopting one that would permit greater levels of sulfate pollution in Minnesota waters. Research shows that higher levels of sulfate – which are converted to highly toxic sulfide by aquatic bacteria – threaten wild rice productivity. While the state has recently abandoned its exploration of a revised water quality rule for the time being, serious concerns remain as to what a potentially less protective rule would mean for manoomin, and what the impacts would be to the lives of Minnesotans who hand-harvest it as well as to Native Americans who depend on it for both economic and cultural viability.

Key Words: Ecosystem Service Valuation, Wild Rice, Agriculture, Manoomin, Cultural Value, Ojibwe, Minnesota, Economic Benefits

farmland lp 2017 impact report
Valuing the ecosystem service benefits
from regenerative agriculture practices

In a USDA funded study, Earth Economics and the Delta Institute summarized the social and environmental impacts of Farmland LP’s two investment funds, Vital Farmland LP (Fund I) and Vital Farmland REIT, LLC (Fund II). Through these funds, Farmland LP purchases conventionally farmed land and introduces sustainable farmland management practices to generate competitive financial returns and achieve positive environmental and social impacts.

Key Words: Ecosystem Service Valuation, Farming, Agriculture, USDA

Outdoor community Projects
Washington State

The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition (WWRC) is a catalyst for conservation and recreation projects across Washington state. For nearly 30 years, it has been the steadfast champion for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP), the state’s largest public funding source for outdoor community projects. Since 1989, the WWRP has contributed over $1.4 billion to more than 1,300 projects statewide, creating not only parks and wildlife habitat, but also jobs, revenue, and increased quality of life throughout the state.

Keywords: Recreation, Outdoors, Critical Habitat, Farmland Preservation, Forestland Preservation, State Lands Development & Renovation, Stand Lands Restoration & Enhancement, State Parks, Trails, Urban Wildlife Habitat, Water Access, Washington, Conservation

Projects to Portfolios: Mainstreaming large-scale investment in integrated infrastructure

Following 10 months of extensive research—including interviews, literature review, process mapping, and econometric modelling —we developed the Blueprint for Increased Investment in Green Infrastructure, designed to support cities across the country to identify actionable steps toward growing their urban portfolios of green infrastructure assets to scale.

Key Words:

Building urban resilience with nature:
A practitioner’s guide to action

The South Platte River Watershed provides extensive value, approximately $7.4 billion per year in ecosystem services, to the economy and people of the watershed. 

Key Words: Natural Capital, Biodiversity, Stormwater, Green Infrastructure


In partnership with Meridian Institute, Earth Economics assessed CPW’s potential revenue from new funding mechanisms including vehicle registration fees, excise taxes, and recreation user fees. This study aims to provide economic and policy analysis as well as user group perspectives to inform CPW’s ongoing funding conversation.

The public benefits of private forests

Forests are among Pierce County's most valuable natural assets, supporting clean water and air, bolstering climate stability, and sustaining local communities. But as the pressure to develop forest lands in Pierce County increases, so does the risk that the critical services provided by forest lands will be lost. While the forest lands owned and maintained by the state and federal governments are likely to stay intact, privately owned forests are at the greatest risk of converting into developed areas to accommodate Pierce Counties growing population.

Key Words: Forest, Ecosystem Services Valuation, Pierce County, Washington State, Sprawl, Urban Sprawl, Community, Development, Weyerhaeuser

To view a full list of Earth Economics' publications since 1999, please visit our Publications Archive.