What is the economic impact of America’s public lands and waters? How can we quantify how these remarkable resources contribute to our quality of life? And how are our valuation methods and public policies changing?
Fiscal policy reforms could substantially increase the economic benefits of public lands for states and local communities.
Comprehensive benefit cost analyses of public lands policies are needed.
A spiritual and cultural treasure and a multi-trillion-dollar asset, public land must be protected.
Natural resources are still the foundation of the Rockies region economy even as it has shifted from extraction-based activities to recreation and tourism.
Non-labor income can have an outsized effect on communities in the rural West with a large share of public lands.
To assess the value of public lands, we must analyze the full array of what matters to people and consider the activities they pursue.
Counties with public lands today tend to have larger, more diverse, and slightly older populations.
Nonmarket valuation tools have evolved over time and are now relied upon for important policy decisions and litigation.
As we work to protect wildlands, we must also ensure that amenity-led growth benefits a wide range of people and builds community.
Advances in economic valuation methods have improved public lands management.
Federally managed public lands were originally intended to provide and protect public goods and services while constraining commercial activities.
In the face of overwhelming transition, local institutions can make a critical difference in rural community resilience.
Western counties once dependent on timber today perform similarly to like-sized counties. Three case studies outline economic lessons from counties that weathered the timber transition.
Minority populations are growing in nearly all rural western counties, helping booming communities expand and slowing the decline in counties that otherwise would have lost people.
Non-labor income sources such as investments, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid often are the largest and fastest growing sources of personal income for many counties. Rural counties especially are surprisingly dependent on non-labor income.
The rural West matters for at least three important reasons: the vitality of the region’s landscape; its impact on local, state, and national politics; and the future of the area’s people and communities.
Update: Rural counties in the West with more federal lands performed better on average than their peers with less federal lands in four key economic measures.
Recent trends in manufacturing and what they mean for the people and communities of the American West, with insights for rural areas in particular.
Compare the effectiveness of states’ oil and natural gas tax policies to see which states ensure that tax revenue is available in the right amount, time, and location to manage drilling-related increases in the local demand for services. See which states invest in long-term infrastructure and economic diversification.