A Tale of Two Parks (In One)

Without intending to, the team of civil servants that in 1990 created Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) launched a forest conservation policy experiment. In an ecologically rich region where ranchers and farmers were illegally clearing forests at an astounding clip, they established a huge (two million hectare) protected area with two distinct management regimes—a core […]

Will Philanthropy Solve Park Funding Problems? Not Likely

State and local park system budgets have been slashed in recent years, leading many communities to turn their attentions toward philanthropy. Oftentimes, especially in large cities, the philanthropy works through park conservancies and other nonprofit organizations. In other cases, there is direct fundraising. The new crowdfunding movement, in which small monetary contributions are solicited from […]

Valuing Conservation in the Context of Climate Change

In the twentieth century, flooding caused more deaths and property damage in the United States than any other natural disaster. Most climate models predict that flooding will worsen in the future, a prospect that is leading a growing number of communities to explore the use of natural areas as protection against extreme events. These areas […]

Sourcing the Future of Wood Bioenergy

Some of the biggest bioenergy debates stem from a “food or fuel” problem, where agricultural lands have been devoted to growing grain as inputs for biofuels, at the cost of food production. According to a study by Searchinger et. al. of corn-based ethanol production, the large scale substitution  of corn ethanol over traditional fossil fuels […]

Looking for a Sustainable Funding Model for State Parks

Many state park systems are struggling. And in some states, the legislature is making matters worse. It is time to rethink the approach to financing parks and work toward a more sustainable and efficient long-term funding system. The Kansas City Star recently reported that the Kansas state legislature is proposing to rob Peter to pay […]

Climate-Ready Coastal Development? A Model from Pelican Bay, Florida

Americans love the coast.  We live there.  We vacation there.  Coastal areas generate substantial economic activity.  But building on the coast is risky—storms and sea level rise threaten coastal development.  Is there a model of development that allows us to enjoy all the ocean has to offer and yet reduces the risks from these hazards? […]

Responding to Natural Disasters—False Security or Damage Reduction?

Fire, floods, coastal storms, drought—the list of natural disasters that invoke billions in damage to communities and their economies is long and persistent. The tally of costs from Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast continues to mount, mirroring the multi-billion dollar price tags for other hurricane disasters. Yet, year after year, the US Army Corps of […]

RFF Feature: Evaluating Approaches for Financing State Parks

In new research, RFF’s Margaret Walls finds that financially struggling state park systems are in need of a fresh approach—but that there is no “one size fits all.” To read the full feature, click here.

RFF Report: An Assessment of U.S. Forest-Climate Assistance

While the impacts of climate change become more obvious almost by the day, comprehensive action by the international community and by the United States seem distant. At the same time, the window for diverting global greenhouse gas emissions towards a two degree Celsius pathway is quickly closing. In my view, one of the only ways […]

RFF Feature: Voluntary Brownfields Certification Programs and Property Values

Many studies of brownfields highlight the benefits of cleanup to the site itself. RFF Fellow Joshua Linn looks at the effects of voluntary certification programs on neighboring property values. Click here to read more.