Thursday, February 12, 2015

Logging in a forest preserve

Textbook example of economics in The Nature Conservancy's Woodbourne preserve in Pennsylvania. The preserve was created to protect trees from logging, and yet the staff made the decision to log part of it and sell the timber. The emerald ash borer, a beetle that devastates certain tree species, was on the march and extremely likely to destroy the trees anyway. In the face of this likely doom, the decision was made to sell the trees in order to protect the hemlock, which was under attack from another pest, the wooly adelgid. With the trees sold, the preserve was able to buy pesticides. Mike Eckley, conservation forester there, put it this way:  “Given the circumstances, this was a high-quality outcome. We maximized financial return on the situation, while reducing liability to people and enabling us to better fund hemlock conservation. We weren’t giving up on ash trees so much as doing what was best for Woodbourne.”

Economics is all about making tough decisions like this one!

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