Natural Resource and Environmental Economics Research

Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Many faculty and students in Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics are engaged in cutting-edge research in the fields of environmental and natural resource economics, with an emphasis on non-market valuation, water economics, natural resource economics and policy, recreation economics, public lands management, and invasive species. CSU’s location along the Colorado Front Range provides exceptional opportunities for applied local and regional analysis of environmental and resource issues, and we partner closely with the U.S. Forest Service and other state and federal agencies to develop research projects that help inform decision-makers and shape public policy. Among the sub-disciplines:

Non-market Evaluation
Dr. John Loomis is a leading scholar in the field and has completed a wide range of valuation projects on such diverse resources as rivers, recreational fisheries, public lands, endangered species, water quality, and forest fires. Dr. Craig Bond, Dr. Dana Hoag, and co-author Dr. Gorm Kipperberg have researched farmers’ preferences for private and public good attributes of irrigation systems. Other faculty in DARE have applied these techniques to attributes related to food products, such as the valuation of organic beef or nutritionally-enhanced foods.

Water Economics
The work of Professors Christopher Goemans and James Pritchett provide examples of ongoing water resource related research within the department. Dr. Goemans is currently conducting research relating to municipal water demand management and understanding the potential effects of climate change on municipal water systems. In collaboration with the City of Parker, Dr. Pritchett is part of a project aimed at developing alternative irrigation strategies for farmers faced with limited water supplies.

Natural Resource Economics
Much of Dr. Craig Bond’s research is in this field, with a focus on numerical dynamic modeling and management implications. More specifically, he has written articles on sustainable management, the relationship between governance and pollution, and agricultural abatement costs, and is currently working on projects involving forest management and invasive species and adaptive resource management, as well as several valuation studies. Dr. Paul Huszar’s research in the natural resources/environmental economics area entails both domestic and international projects. Most recently, his domestic work has been concerned with the non-consumptive use of agricultural water. Prior to that his work concerned off-site costs of wind erosion. Internationally, his recent work has been on the sustainable use of grassland and forest resources in the Gran Chaco of Argentina and an evaluation of the environment impacts of the development of river navigation in Brazil and Argentina. Prior to this work, he investigated the sustainability of upland soil conservation programs in the uplands of Java, Indonesia.

Environmental Economics
Dr. John Loomis is a leading scholar in the environmental economics. His body of work in this field includes over 160 peer-reviewed publications on benefits of protecting natural environments. Dr. Craig Bond, Dr. Dana Hoag, and Dr. Gorm Kipperbeg have worked on farmers’ preferences for private and public good attributes of irrigation systems.

Resource Policy
Resource policy examines the interface of agriculture and the environment. Several faculty in the DARE have looked at water use and conservation, organic foods, wildlife (e.g. prairie dogs, elk, deer), ecosystem function, sustainability, public and private land use, water pollution from agriculture, conservation easements and agricultural preservation.

Recreation and Tourism Economics
Tourism and recreation are among the fastest growing and most important economic activities across the globe. They are of particular importance to a state with abundant and relatively unique natural features such as Colorado. Our national parks and protected areas, our fish and wildlife, our wild rivers and streams and, of course, our mountains attract millions of visitors per year and increase the well being of Coloradoans in at least two ways: (1) direct enjoyment citizens of Colorado receive from visiting these areas; (2) employment, income and taxes generated by non-resident visitors to Colorado. Several DARE faculty research areas such as agritoursim.

Public Lands Management
Dr. John Loomis has conducted research on how visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park respond to changes in natural resources influenced by climate change. He has researched how visitation to Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge change with different numbers of elk and bison. A major focus of his research is how much visitors and the general public would pay to reduce risk of catastrophic wildfires on public lands through use of prescribed burning and mechanical fuel reduction. Dr. Andrew Seidl has conducted research on how visitors to the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Michoacan, Mexico, Glaciers National Park in Argentine Patagonia and cruise tourists visiting marine and terrestrial parks and archeological sites in Central America and the Caribbean respond to changes in the quality and costs of tourist services. A major focus of his research surrounds the distribution of the financial returns of tourism development and the incentives for natural resource stewardship in developing countries and communities.