Putting a Value on the Ecosystem Services Provided by Forests in the Eastern United States: Case Studies on Natural Capital and Conservation
Analysis of the natural capital value of the protected forests was undertaken using a combination of a 'standard' assessment of the externality value of the property ecosystems, and, to a lesser extent, the defensive expenditures approach. The defensive expenditures approach values the damage caused by environmental degradation according to the costs that society is willing to pay to prevent the damage. Monetary valuation of the benefits used the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates of the Social Cost of Carbon (EPA 2016), as well as standard estimates from the literature for non-carbon pollutants. A relatively broad range of natural capital values were calculated, reflecting the diversity of forest types, densities and geographic features. The case study properties provide services valued at between $1,500 and $5,500 per acre, per year, in natural capital benefits. The average benefit was estimated to be $4,028 per acre per year (all figures are in current U.S. dollars).