The Economics of Protecting Old Growth Forest: An Analysis of Spotted Owl Habitat in the Fraser Timber Supply Area of British Columbia

Monday, September 29, 2008 (All day)

The spotted owl is one of British Columbia’s most endangered species and its population is dwindling as logging continues in the coastal old growth forests upon which it depends for survival. Many other species depend on this habitat, some of which are endangered as well, and old growth forests provide a host of other benefits to humans. The two major land use options at issue are logging or protection of these old growth habitats. Protection of old growth forest carries an opportunity cost in terms of the foregone surplus (producer surplus or economic rent) from timber harvesting. However, the harvesting of old growth timber carries an opportunity cost in terms of other foregone values, such as certain recreation opportunities, stored carbon and ecosystem services (e.g. watershed protection).

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