Assessing the income value of private amenities in California oak woodlands

Julio 2011
Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos (IPP) CSIC, Working Paper. 2011-10

Jose L. Oviedo, Lynn Huntsinger, Pablo Campos & Alejandro Caparrós

A contingent valuation technique was applied to a 2004 sample of oak woodland landowners in California to assess its usefulness in estimating the non-market income and land price value of oak woodland properties. Non-market benefits have long been considered an important influence on rangeland landowners, but beyond comparing market production and land price, few studies have attempted to place a monetary value on them. Landowners were asked to estimate the maximum amount of earnings that they were willing to forgo before selling their property to invest in more commercially profitable non-agrarian assets, and the proportion of the price of their land that they think is explained by the environmental and/or amenity benefits that they derive from their land. The results showed that, on average, they were willing to pay $54 per acre for their land amenities and that 57% of the land market price is explained by these amenities. Regression analysis reveals that the value of amenities to landowners increases as the stated woodland market price increases, but gets saturated as property size increases. The proposed approach shedslight on landowner behavior and values and offers insights for outreach and policy development for private oak woodlands, and should be further developed and tested.