The Economic Value of Riparian Corridors in Cornbelt Floodplains: A Research Framework

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riparian corridors, environmental services, market failure

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A new research framework determines the economic value of riparian corridors in floodplains of the agricultural Midwest. Market mechanisms can fail to account for many positive attributes of riparian wetland ecosystems. Individual farmers frequently make socially inappropriate decisions regarding floodplain land-uses because the benefits accruing from wetlands, such as improved water quality and enhanced recreational activities, are public goods. A spatial economic model, based on willingness-to-pay procedures, assesses the apposite mix of agricultural/wetland land uses that compares the marginal value of natural riparian vegetation and agricultural production on rural Cornbelt floodplains. A simple case study illustrates the framework.

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The Professional Geographer, Vol. 41, issue 3, pp. 337-349