Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Substitute costs: A method for determining ecological service values in stormwater management
by McKinney, Steven B., Ph.D., The University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2009, 109; 3356370
Abstract (Summary)

Many alternatives exist for estimating the value of the natural environment. These approaches have been developed over the past 40 to 50 years and began principally because of increasing awareness that economic development had an associated cost in environmental degradation. Environmental economics provides some of the tools necessary to aid in balancing economic growth with the environmental impacts created by this growth and to do so through evaluating policy. Using environmental economics as a mechanism for policy assessment allows the evaluation of potential gains from specific courses of economic growth and of the trade-offs in environmental services that may be necessary.

Melding economics, environmental science, engineering, and public policy, this research develops and demonstrates a methodology for the calculation of an Ecological Service Value (ESV) by using the substitute cost valuation method for a single ecosystem service: stormwater management. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is used to provide the required input parameters for the WinSLAMM (Source Loading and Management Model for Windows) stormwater runoff model, which provides the input variables for the ESV calculation.

This research produces a methodology to aid in quantifying the environmental impact and cost associated with land disturbance or development. In addition, through determining of a common metric, this research aids in understanding relationships between economic development perspectives, stormwater pollution control engineering cost implications, and the value of natural stormwater services provided by the ecosystem. Lastly, this research contributes to the greater body of knowledge on the topics of stormwater runoff impacts, environmental economics, and geographic information sciences.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lalor, Melinda
Commitee: Angus, Robert, Blanchard, Paul D., Culver, Sarah, Shih, Alan
School: The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Department: Environmental Health Engineering
School Location: United States -- Alabama
Source: DAI-B 70/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Economics, Environmental science, Environmental engineering
Keywords: Ecological service values, Environmental economics, Stormwater management, Stormwater runoff, Substitute costs
Publication Number: 3356370
ISBN: 9781109166149
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