The economic impacts of hemlock woolly adelgid on residential landscape values: Sparta, New Jersey case study
In this paper, we provide preliminary estimates of the impacts of the hemlock woolly adelgid on residential property values in Sparta, New Jersey, using the hedonic property value method. The literature on the aesthetic perceptions of forest landscapes is briefly reviewed to provide guidance in formulating economic hypotheses based on the assumption of an informative relationship between forest aesthetics and economic value. The hedonic property value literature regarding the ornamental and landscape value of trees is also reviewed. The empirical results show that healthy and lightly defoliated hemlocks contribute positive value to residential properties, and that moderately defoliated hemlocks reduce property values. Value 'spillovers', or externalities, are also observed where hemlock health has an impact not only on individual parcels containing hemlock resources, but also on neighboring property values. The implications of our results for forest managers are discussed
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