Economics of Grassland Conversion

Faculty Lead(s): Ben Rashford


Description:  Temperate grasslands are one of the most threatened global ecotypes.  Across North America, conversion of grasslands to intensive crop production or residential development is having dramatic negative impacts on migratory birds and other ecosystem services.

This project will explore the economics of grassland conversion from a variety or perspectives to help policymakers and NGOs improve the effectiveness of conservation programs.

Potential thesis projects for students to explore, include: 1) estimating the drivers of, and rates, of grassland conversion in the US; 2) examining the extent to which current governments programs effectively target grasslands at highest risk of conversion; and 3) approximating potential conservation easement values/cost on intact grassland.

A student working on any aspect of this larger project will have the opportunity to learn econometric techniques, including programming in R and the use of spatially explicit data.

ben rashford with a fully funded graduate assistant researching economics of grassland conversion

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