Economic Benefit of Conservation

All you readers out there know that a day in the redwoods is good for the soul.  It is calming, inspirational, healing and fun. Whether you walk with your honey, picnic with friends or romp with your children, it is guaranteed to be memorable.

Now we know that these wonderful experiences are also good for the local economy.

Howland Hills Road, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.
Howland Hills Road, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

Visitors to Redwood National Park spent more than $20 million in nearby communities in 2011.  More than 360,000 people visited the National Park that year.

But those numbers do not include the visitors count to the three state parks (Del Norte Redwoods, Jedediah Smith Redwoods, and Prairie Creek Redwoods) that, combined, make up the Redwood National and State Parks.

Another 500,000 people visited those State Parks in 2011.  That translates to more than $40 million in economic activity for the nearby communities.

Quantifying the economic benefit of conservation is part of the idea of “ecosystem services.”  The underlying concept of that term is that nature provides us value; e.g., healthy land and waterways provide clean water that is good for our heath and also has economic benefit.  The bees that pollinate the trees that produce our favorite fruit are another example of an ecosystem service.  Our old-growth redwood forests provide valuable ecosystem services as well. They are the largest carbon storage systems on the planet and provide some $40 million per year in economic activity to the North Coast of California, among other benefits

Can you identify other examples of ecosystem services involving the redwoods?

About the author

Harry joined Save the Redwoods League’s staff in 2011 as the General Counsel. He brings over 30 years of experience in the fields of law and real estate transactions.

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2 Responses to “Economic Benefit of Conservation”

  1. Harry Pollack

    Hi Grant!

    Thank you so much for the thoughtful response. We are continually inspired not just by the trees or forests but also by the stories from those of you who have had a chance to spend some time in the redwoods. Your stories and experiences help us to convey the sense of longevity, history and awe that redwoods inspire to those who have yet to experience them in person.

  2. grant

    One example of ‘ecosystem service’ from the redwoods would be the benefit to conservation groups (like STRL) and the redwoods trees themselves. Something that comes up all the time when taking people in to the forest, is the sense of connection to history. When they are standing next to a tree that is1800-2200yrs old-almost everyone starts to relate human history to what the tree has ‘seen’ through out this time period. There are very few other living things that invoke the sense of ‘mortality’. The feeling that their lifespan is just a blip (or growth rings) on the redwood trees. This seems to produce an urgency (maybe just temporary) to support conservation of the redwoods and to preserve the habitat for future generations.


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