Essays on the Non-market Valuation and Optimal Control of Bio-invasions in Urban Forest Resources
Siriwardena, Shyamani Dilantha
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This dissertation consists of three essays, of which, two involve assessing the value of tree cover in urban communities and the other evaluates cooperative management of an invasive species by urban communities. The first chapter summarizes the three topics and briefly describes the motivation, methods applied and main conclusions in each study. Chapter 2 presents a meta-analysis of hedonic property value studies on the value of tree cover. A meta-regression was performed using implicit value estimates for tree cover at property-level from various locations in the U.S. along with auxiliary data of county-level tree cover to investigate the relationship between tree cover and implicit-price estimates for residential properties. The study found that on average 35 percent and 40 percent tree cover respectively at property-level and county-level optimize the benefits to the property owners in urban areas. These results provide insights to forward-looking communities to adapt their tree planting and protection efforts to lessen climate-induced impacts. Chapter 3 applies a first-stage Hedonic property price model to estimate preference for tree cover in urban communities using single-family house sales data from multiple property markets across the U.S. The study analyses how home owners' preference for tree cover vary across the landscape and across cities. Further, it identifies what factors affect these variations via the general inferences obtained from an internal meta-analysis. The study confirms the heterogeneity of preferences as affected by the differences in the abundance of tree cover in study locations, regional differences and household characteristics. These findings add to the hedonic literature and provide useful information for future urban planning. Chapter 4 focuses on cooperative management of invasive species in landscapes with mixed land ownerships. This study analyzes the effect of the land ownership on the management efforts between an infested municipality and an uninfested municipality when a transferable payment scheme is involved in the cooperative agreement. A dynamic optimization problem was set up to evaluate the case of Emerald ash borer (EAB) control in multiple jurisdictions in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. The results suggest that when the infested municipality has more public lands and when the transfer payments are efficiently used to implement greater control, the municipalities are more likely to commit to bargaining, and smaller transfer payments paid over a longer span of time are sufficient for optimal control of the spread of invasive species across the municipalities. The last chapter concludes the three studies and discusses the insights for future research.
- Doctoral Dissertations