Valuing Ecosystem Services: Oysters, Denitrification, and Nutrient Trading Programs Public Deposited

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  • Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia have all developed nutrient trading programs to defray the cost of achieving mandated nitrogen load reductions in Chesapeake Bay, and there is increasing interest in the role oysters can play in generating credits. A number of bioeconomic models highlight the impact these credits have in optimizing oyster harvest rates, but all overlook a major limiting factor in oyster population dynamics: oyster shell is an oyster’s preferred settling medium. Harvest thus impacts oyster productivity through the removal of both extant oysters and the future shell habitat. This is extremely important given that the removal of shell and oyster meat is a major channel by which nutrient credits could be generated. Further, recent research suggests that multiple oyster reef equilibria exist, and reef height determines the trajectory of oyster population change. In this research we couple a biological model of an oyster population, including shell dynamics, to a value function and analyze optimal oyster harvest regimes. The value function incorporates both the oyster harvesting profits and the value of an oyster reefs’ nutrient sequestration and denitrification. We then maximize the net present value of the oyster reef, using numerical dynamic programming and simulation techniques for a reasonable range of biological and economic parameters, to provide policy guidance on the trade-off between harvest, sequestration and denitrification services. Results indicate that optimal harvest rates are more sensitive to variability in the biological rather than economic parameters, although some level of harvest is almost always optimal.
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  • DePiper, Geret S., Douglas W. Lipton and Romuald N. Lipcius. 2015. Valuing Ecosystem Services: Oysters, Denitrification, and Nutrient Trading Programs. In: Proceedings of the Eighth Biennial Forum of the North American Association of Fisheries Economists, May 20-22, 2015, Ketchikan, Alaska: Economic Sustainability, Fishing Communities and Working Waterfronts. Compiled by Ann L. Shriver and Melissa Errend. North American Association of Fisheries Economists, Corvallis, Oregon, USA, 2015.
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  • description.provenance : Submitted by Melissa Errend (melissa.errend@gmail.com) on 2015-10-21T16:27:01Z No. of bitstreams: 1 DePiper NAAFE 2015.pdf: 1661621 bytes, checksum: b14a616550e7448f273e7aa04a70a70c (MD5)
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