Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 1998


Published in Great Plains Research 8 (Spring 1998): 157-68. Copyright © 1998 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Used by permission.


Land and water resources of the Prairie Pothole Region support important economic and ecologic activities. Scarce resources, such as wetlands, should be allocated among these activities such that society's well being is enhanced. Such allocation requires knowledge of the relative values of resources, something that has been largely missing in the wetland literature. This paper describes the practical realities of wetland economics, using the Prairie Pothole Region as an example. Ongoing human and economic activities in the PPR are presented as an introduction to the economy of the area. The purpose for economic valuation of wetlands-achieving the "greatest good"-is briefly discussed. The connection between wetlands and human values is described. Five types of wetland valuation methods are discussed: market, surrogate/proxy, revealed preference, stated preference, and benefits transfer. Finally, some suggestions are made to add value to all types of wetland science by enhancing the collaboration among wetland scientists.