Commercial Benefits of Nova Scotia’s Protected Areas

Commercial Benefits of Nova Scotia’s Protected Areas report.

Report

The purpose of this project is to analyze regional and provincial commercial benefits of provincial wilderness areas and nature reserves in Nova Scotia. These sites comprise just over 75% of Nova Scotia’s protected areas system. The project examines the current situation and identifies opportunities to increase commercial benefits. It outlines barriers to achieving benefits and provides recommendations. The project reflects current thinking on the subject, including (but not limited to) the Economic Benefits of Parks and Protected Areas Framework provided by the Canadian Parks Council. 

Commercial Benefits of Nova Scotia’s Protected Areas report.
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Case study: “Monetary valuation of ecosystem goods and services in Thousand Islands National Park”

Case Study

The Thousand Islands National Park, located within the larger Thousand Islands Ecosystem in Eastern Ontario, was selected as a case study for valuing ecosystem goods and services (EGS). The case study brings together concepts showing how ecosystem accounting can be used. The park, established in 1904, is one of the smallest national parks in Canada at 22.3 km2, and faces many pressures affecting the state of its environment.

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Assessing the local economic impacts of land protection

Land protection, whether public or private, is often controversial at the local level because residents worry about lost economic activity. We used panel data and a quasiexperimental impact-evaluation approach to determine how key economic indicators were related to the percentage of land protected. Specifically, we estimated the impacts of public and private land protection based on local area employment and housing permits data from 5 periods spanning 1990-2015 for all major towns and cities in New England. To generate rigorous impact estimates, we modeled economic outcomes as a function of the percentage of land protected in the prior period, conditional on town fixed effects, metro-region trends, and controls for period and neighboring protection. Contrary to narratives that conservation depresses economic growth, land protection was associated with a modest increase in the number of people employed and in the labor force and did not affect new housing permits, population, or median income. Public and private protection led to different patterns of positive employment impacts at distances close to and far from cities, indicating the importance of investing in both types of land protection to increase local opportunities. The greatest magnitude of employment impacts were due to protection in more rural areas, where opportunities for both visitation and amenity-related economic growth may be greatest. Overall, we provide novel evidence that land protection can be compatible with local economic growth and illustrate a method that can be broadly applied to assess the net economic impacts of protection.

Peer-reviewed Article

Land protection, whether public or private, is often controversial at the local level because residents worry about lost economic activity. This peer-reviewed article estimates the impacts of public and private land protection based on local area employment and housing permits data from 5 periods spanning 1990-2015 for all major towns and cities in New England. Contrary to narratives that conservation depresses economic growth, land protection was associated with a modest increase in the number of people employed and in the labor force and did not affect new housing permits, population, or median income. Public and private protection led to different patterns of positive employment impacts at distances close to and far from cities, indicating the importance of investing in both types of land protection to increase local opportunities. The greatest magnitude of employment impacts were due to protection in more rural areas, where opportunities for both visitation and amenity-related economic growth may be greatest. 

Land protection, whether public or private, is often controversial at the local level because residents worry about lost economic activity. We used panel data and a quasiexperimental impact-evaluation approach to determine how key economic indicators were related to the percentage of land protected. Specifically, we estimated the impacts of public and private land protection based on local area employment and housing permits data from 5 periods spanning 1990-2015 for all major towns and cities in New England. To generate rigorous impact estimates, we modeled economic outcomes as a function of the percentage of land protected in the prior period, conditional on town fixed effects, metro-region trends, and controls for period and neighboring protection. Contrary to narratives that conservation depresses economic growth, land protection was associated with a modest increase in the number of people employed and in the labor force and did not affect new housing permits, population, or median income. Public and private protection led to different patterns of positive employment impacts at distances close to and far from cities, indicating the importance of investing in both types of land protection to increase local opportunities. The greatest magnitude of employment impacts were due to protection in more rural areas, where opportunities for both visitation and amenity-related economic growth may be greatest. Overall, we provide novel evidence that land protection can be compatible with local economic growth and illustrate a method that can be broadly applied to assess the net economic impacts of protection.
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