We have always known that land conservation is a smart long-term investment for any community, but research has confirmed that it also provides incredible economic value to the people of Colorado! While we feel that it’s difficult to put a price tag on nature, wildlife, and aesthetic beauty, the methodology described below helps to explain the benefits of land conservation from a purely numbers-driven standpoint.
An economist at The Trust for Public Land determined that the citizens of Colorado have invested approximately $595 million in conservation easements between 1994 (the inception of Great Outdoors Colorado) and 2008 – and this investment has yielded a whopping return of $3.52 billion in ecosystem services. That works out to a return of $6 for every dollar invested! Most of us would happily realize a 6-to-1 return ratio on our personal investments. The distinction is: this strategic long-term investment benefits everyone who lives, works, plays, or visits our community. It’s not only a great deal. It is an investment that is perpetual in duration; a Lasting Legacy for our community and a monument in this beautiful region.
To reach the figures cited above, the economist studied and quantified “ecosystem services” provided by every acre of land protected by conservation easement, which varies in monetary value depending on the type of ecosystem (such as wetlands, forests, ag lands, etc.). Ecosystem services include things like clean water protection, fish and wildlife habitat, open space for recreation, agricultural production, carbon sequestration, scenic beauty, erosion and flood control, and so on; things that directly benefit our lives and the wildlife we share our world with. Some ecosystems in particular were determined to provide substantial value, such as “Mixed Forests” ($880 in value per acre, per year) and “Woody Wetlands” ($784).
“The present value of Colorado’s $500 million investment from 1994 to 2008 is $595 million resulting in ecosystem service benefits of $3.52 billion, that is for every $1 invested by Colorado achieved a $6 benefit. In addition, these benefits will continue to accrue into perpetuity on protected lands.” [The Trust for Public Land]
Land conservation is an even better deal in Northwest Colorado, thanks to YVLT’s efforts to stretch every generous donation we receive.
Yampa Valley Land Trust works to carefully leverage your donations to give you the best possible return on investment. YVLT has previously demonstrated the ability to turn $1 into approximately $220 in land conservation!
If you strive to maximize return on your investments…