Environmental Zone Designations and the Provision of Public Services

Faculty Lead(s): Roger Coupal, Kristi Hansen, Chian Jones Ritten, and Don McLeod


Description: Conservation actions that support terrestrial migratory species, including elk and mule deer, have become a growing regional policy concern in the Pacific Northwest and the Intermountain West.

Unlike sedentary species, these migratory species require habitat across expansive, usually connected areas. This unique need for spatially explicit conservation actions occurs along pre-defined migration routes, or corridors.

Further, because these species move throughout the landscape seasonally, effective conservation is species, time, and place specific.This suggests a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to conservation will be ineffective to meet the needs of migratory land species.

However, local government public finances are often trapped in old economic bases instead of emerging ones. To assist counties in the provision of public services, including migratory species conservation, this research will explore payment systems to compensate the county general funds in lieu of taxes for those areas that are formally designated as high-quality natural assets.

The student will study the natural resource economic complex between natural resources and communities that exists in most areas of the Rocky Mountain West and in many areas with different types of natural resources. There will be a strong focus in classes on applied economics and public finance to study this issue.The public finance component will incorporate both econometric techniques and GIS.


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