General | Maine

New Study Values Maine’s Natural Capital

Image Alder Stream, MaineA new study suggests that Maine’s natural areas are worth more than $14 billion per year, not counting revenue derived from the outdoors, such as tourism dollars. According to the research, the Wilderness Trust’s Alder Stream Preserve falls into the second-most-valuable category, within a watershed that provides $150-250 million dollars in total ecosystem service value each year. Conducted by Manomet Center for Conservation Science, the study measured factors such as scenic beauty, natural flood control capacity, the ability of forests to capture greenhouse gases, wildlife habitat, capacity of wetlands to filter water, pollination, and underground water tables.

Study author Dr. Austin Troy noted, “We may never know the exact price of our natural resources. But assigning some value to natural capital is clearly more accurate than assigning none, as is currently the norm.”

The research suggests that Northeast Wilderness Trust’s 2700 acres in the Alder Stream watershed in southeastern Piscataquis County average $800-1000 dollars in ecosystem services per acre per year. With an additional 1700 acres of land currently being transferred to NWT ownership, the ecosystem service value of the lands we own in the Alder Stream Preserve may be approximately $4 million dollars annually.

Read the Bangor Daily News article about the study.

Download the full study.

View a map.

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