Competition for Wetlands in the Midwest: An Economic Analysis

Competition for Wetlands in the Midwest: An Economic Analysis

Competition for Wetlands in the Midwest: An Economic Analysis

Competition for Wetlands in the Midwest: An Economic Analysis

Excerpt

The wetlands of the Canadian Prairie Provinces, extending into the United States in the pothole country of the Dakotas and Minnesota, provide a classic case of conflict in resource utilization. Wetlands represent potential nuisances at best and substantial increases in costs of agricultural production at worst for farmers on whose land they occur. The disadvantages of marshes and ponds for the individual farm operator encourage their drainage and conversion to cropland. At the same time, these wetlands provide a vital part of the ecology of migratory waterfowl, the principal wildlife resource associated with the wetlands. Thus the drainage of wetlands has an adverse, uncompensated impact on the waterfowl population along with adverse consequences for furbearers and other perhaps less significant wildlife species.

Such conflicts in resource use are not unusual. Indeed, the allocation of any resource to one use precludes its simultaneous use for incompatible alternative uses. This problem is the substance of economic choices in both production and consumption. In the case of typical allocative decisions, the prices in the market reflect, as a general matter, the marginal valuation that producers and consumers place on additional units of resources in alternative applications. This is the way in which the economy's allocative work gets done. In the case of the wetlands, however, a misallocation is likely because migratory waterfowl have no market prices, being fugitive resources subject to har-

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.