Wyoming’s forests are essential ecosystems that regulate and supply water, provide habitat for valued species, sequester carbon, and provide timber among many other important goods and services to the people of Wyoming. As forest managers across Wyoming work towards the shared goal of accelerating the pace and scale of forest restoration, there is a collective need to better understand and leverage the economic value of these ecosystems’ natural capital. As most resource management decisions are made by comparing benefits and costs, translating these tangible and intangible ecosystem benefits into monetary values can help facilitate better decisions. In this context, The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming (TNC) engaged Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) to conduct a valuation study of the ecosystem services provided by forests in the state.
For this analysis, we are using a combination of primary and secondary data, GIS analysis, and expert consultation, including Equilibrium Economics for their experience in forest in the region. A special focus will be given to water-related services, outdoor recreation, and habitat services. We will present our findings in a technical report, a series of factsheets, and a story map. CSF will also conduct a series of capacity building workshops to help users interpret and use the results.
The results and recommendations of this analysis will be useful to diverse stakeholders, including forest managers and natural resource decision makers, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for pre and post-fire mitigation cost-benefit analysis required for FEMA risk mitigation grants. The results will also be extremely beneficial in making the case for new funding streams in support of TNC’s long-term conservation and forest restoration in Wyoming.
This project is supported by The Nature Conservancy - Wyoming.
Photo Credit: The Bureau of Land Management Wyoming, USA