2016 Lecture Series

What's the Wild Worth? The price of nature's amenities through a 21st century conservation lens

Money, livelihoods, political capital, societal values, worth — these are words of the 21st century conservation collective. At the heart of most conservation actions regarding nature in the 21st century is the question of economics and value systems. We set the prices, we define our desires, and our resulting outcomes dictate not only our immediate responses to environmental concerns, litigation or legislation, but also, set the course for a future where we will decide the value of nature's amenities, from the geography of our public spaces, to the value of headwaters streams feeding our ever-changing demands for the freshwater resources downstream.

This year's lecture series will focus on the relationship between our natural amenities — land, water, wildlife, fish, intact ecological relationships and natural systems—and how these natural amenities are related to land conservation through economics and local, regional or national well-being. As we continue as a nation, and a global economy, to focus more on cost-benefit analyses regarding nature and human activity, lessons in economics and valuation become an ever-increasingly important piece of the dialogue. We will hear from scholars, economists, recreationists, writers, managers, and storytellers about the intrinsic and extraneous worth of our wild places.

Feb. 2: "Valuing Ecosystem Services to Inform Natural Resource Policy and Management." Dr. John Duffield, President and Principal of Bioeconomics Inc.

Feb. 9: "Hikers Values for Wilderness: An Empirical Examination of the West." Dr. Jeffrey Englin, professor in the Morrison School of Agribusiness, WP Carey School of Business, Arizona State University

Feb. 16"Wilderness Isn’t Priceless—It’s Just Not Priced." Dr. Terry Anderson, William A. Dunn Distinguished Senior Fellow and former president and executive director of The Property and Environment Research Center; John and Jean De Nault Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Feb. 23: "Preserving America’s Outdoor Romance with Parks, Wilderness, Wildlands and Wildlife." Dr. John Baden, founder and chairman of the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment and Gallatin Writers, Inc.

March 1:"Turning Things on Their Head: How Policy Makers Think About Wilderness Economics." Dr. Richard Barrett, UM economics professor emeritus and Montana state senator.

March 8"Conservation Economics:  The Value of Protected Lands and Wilderness." Dr. Evan Hjerpe, executive director, Conservation Economics Institute.

March 15"Wilderness and Economics: The Role of Public Lands in the Changing West." Dr. Kimiko Barrett, geographer, Headwaters Economics.

March 22: "Wildland and Economic Values: Profaning the Sacred?" Dr. Thomas Power, Research Professor and Professor Emeritus, Economics Department, University of Montana, Principle in Power Consulting, Inc.