Journal of Forest Economics > Vol 15 > Issue 4

Valuing habitat regime models for the red-cockaded woodpecker in Mississippi

Stephen C. Grado, , Donald L. Grebner, Rebecca J. Barlow, Rebecca O. Drier
Suggested Citation
Stephen C. Grado, Donald L. Grebner, Rebecca J. Barlow and Rebecca O. Drier (2009), "Valuing habitat regime models for the red-cockaded woodpecker in Mississippi", Journal of Forest Economics: Vol. 15: No. 4, pp 277-295.

Publication Date: 0/12/2009
© 0 2009 Stephen C. Grado, Donald L. Grebner, Rebecca J. Barlow, Rebecca O. Drier
JEL Codes:Q20Q23Q57
Equivalent annual income (EAI)Land expectation value (LEV)Red-cockaded woodpecker habitatSpectrum


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Managing Mississippi's forest lands to produce both quality wildlife habitat as well as merchantable timber can be a daunting challenge for forest managers and a source of great concern for the public. In some cases, producing both the quantity and quality of habitat needed and the timber desired is all but impossible. In other cases, a delicate balance that achieves both objectives can be struck. The objective of this study was to quantitatively estimate monetary gains and losses and changes in timber inventories relative to the timber growing stock when producing more or less habitat for the red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW) (Picoides borealis). USDA Forest Service vegetation data, habitat ratings, and economic variables were compiled for those regions of Mississippi best suited for RCWs. Data was then analyzed with Spectrum, the USDA Forest Service-based forest planning software. Models maximizing such objectives as net present value (NPV) alone as well as five different levels of RCW habitat quality over a 50-year rotation were developed. Revenue foregone, acres and volumes harvested, land expectation value (LEV), and equivalent annual income (EAI) were compared for all objectives for the South Central Hills and Pine Belt regions of Mississippi (1,036,208 acres) for three ownership types. As expected, when maximizing for any quality level of RCW habitat, revenue forgone was higher ($0.11–$49/acre/year) than for NPV alone. Volume harvested for high-quality habitat ranged from 152,296 to 10,237,649 cunits, while harvests from low-quality habitat ranged from 637,491 to 116,357,673 cunits. Lower levels of habitat management allowed for an increased emphasis on timber harvesting. In general, we determined that increases in habitat quality resulted in lower timber harvest levels and increased revenue forgone than regimes maximizing NPVs. While this result may be expected, of greater importance are the relative differences between regimes and the ability to use these values for policy decisions.