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1 November 2018 Using State and Transition Models to Determine the Opportunity Cost of Providing Ecosystem Services
John Ritten, María E. Fernández-Giménez, James Pritchett, Emily Kachergis, Willow Bish
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Abstract

A ranch-level model using state-and-transitions models for three ecological sites is used to determine the tradeoffs of providing various ecosystem services. The hypothetical ranch is located in northern Colorado and is based upon area average ecological site characteristics and livestock production practices. Management decisions include stocking rate and brush control. The model includes exogenous factors such as precipitation and fire. The model solves for optimal decisions over an infinite planning horizon using stochastic dynamic programming. Results showthat a ranch cannot provide all ecosystem services in tandemat their highest level, implying that land managers must decide which ecosystems service theywant to provide. Also, it is much cheaper in terms of foregone profitability for a ranch to continue to provide a specific ecosystem service that is already provided by the ranch rather than try to transition the ranch to a new ecological state in order to provide a service currently not provided.

© 2018 The Society for Range Management. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
John Ritten, María E. Fernández-Giménez, James Pritchett, Emily Kachergis, and Willow Bish "Using State and Transition Models to Determine the Opportunity Cost of Providing Ecosystem Services," Rangeland Ecology and Management 71(6), 737-752, (1 November 2018). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rama.2018.06.010
Received: 28 December 2017; Accepted: 21 June 2018; Published: 1 November 2018
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KEYWORDS
economics
ecosystem service
opportunity costs
State and transition model
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