Economic Value of D&R Greenway Ecosystem Services Update

Economic Value of D&R Greenway Ecosystem Services Update

Madeline VerHey

Verhey Greenway

My report, based on the 2015 economic value of the ecosystem services provided by the D&R Greenway Land Trust properties by the Hyatt Team and the most current literature on the topic, used a multi-step approach to evaluating ecosystem services in order to obtain the most accurate estimate of the D&R Greenway Land Trust’s properties.

This approach took into account the preventative value of preserving ecosystems, the impact costs of development, and the community value of ecosystems. While this approach is the best method currently available for evaluating ecosystems, we recognized that like all estimates, ours would overvalue some aspects while undervalue others. In recognition of this fact, all evaluations in this report erred on the side of conservatism in order to deliver the most reliable product possible to the Land Trust and to the people of New Jersey.

Our task was to update and add to the existing 2015 Hyatt ecosystem services report and to map out the exact location and land use type of 2,000 acres acquired by the Land Trust after the publication of the Hyatt report. For the latter of these two tasks, we used the New Jersey state public GIS survey to first identify the ecosystem type of these parcels, and then used the values per acre per type of land use as listed in the Costanza et al. report, adjusted for 2019 dollars, to determine a value of the new holdings.

We also updated the evaluation of the 19,000-some acres evaluated in the 2015 report to reflect 2019 dollar values. We included a calculation for value perpetuity of all Land Trust ecosystem services. This measurement projected the value of the certainty of the ecosystem services into the future, which is relevant as intact ecosystems will become ever rarer in rapidly-developing New Jersey.  Finally, we integrated the two monetary evaluations for an estimate of the Land Trust’s total holdings.