Bark Beetle Epidemics, Life Satisfaction, and Economic Well-Being
Evidence of increased biotic disturbances in forests due to climate change is accumulating, necessitating the development of new approaches for understanding the impacts of natural disturbances on human well-being. The recent Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) outbreak in the western United States, which was historically unprecedented in scale, provides an opportunity for testing the adequacy of the life satisfaction approach (LSA) to estimate the impact of large-scale forest mortality on subjective well-being. Prior research in this region used the hedonic method (HM) to estimate the economic impacts of the MPB outbreak, and results are used here to evaluate the reasonableness of economic estimates based upon the LSA. While economic estimates based upon the LSA model do not appear to be unreasonable, several limitations in using the LSA for nonmarket valuations are discussed. New avenues for research that link the LSA with stated preference methods are discussed that appear likely to address major concerns with standard LSA models as used in nonmarket valuation.