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How much does a woodpecker cost

Photo of Snapshot : Using simulations to predict the value of timber production lost due to conserving an endangered species

Principal Investigators(s) :
Guldin, James M. 
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2011
Highlight ID : 415


The Ouachita National Forest received approval in 1996 for an amendment to its Forest Plan that would allocate 10% of the Forest to long-rotation silviculture. The purpose of the new management area is to restore pre-European settlement forest conditions and recreate habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. The authors used computer simulations to predict changes in the growth patterns of individual trees to ecosystem valuation of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Over the entire simulation period, pine-bluestem management returns 75% of the undiscounted revenue generated by traditional management (660 versus 875 million dollars). The implied value for each pair of woodpeckers is either $10,550 per year for the desired 400 total pairs or $16,880 per year for the 250 reproducing pairs. Judging from the changes resulting from the transition to pine-bluestem management, adopting the new scenario will not cause significant adverse regional economic consequences. The success of the pine-bluestem restoration requires the maintenance of a burning regime that prevents competing vegetation from occupying the middle canopy layer.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Oklahoma State University

Program Areas