The Economics of Riparian Management: A Literature Review

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  • The effects of grazing cattle in many riparian areas have greatly affected the associated landscapes over the past 50 years. The riparian areas of streams and rivers provide numerous ecological services, and it has been demonstrated that cattle grazing can disrupt this zone, negatively affecting these services. The benefits of healthy riparian zones include, but are not restricted to, shelter and forage for wildlife, controlling the flow and volume of stream discharge, and filtering of chemicals and sediment in runoff from fields and pastures. Each of these services will have both market and non-market economic effects that are of interest to both private (ranchers and farmers) and public interests. However, these economic impacts have rarely been included in studies to date. The riparian zone is also, in many situations, the most productive zone for forages, as a result of its higher water table. The economic benefit to ranchers of using this zone can be considerable, and may be necessary to the economic viability of ranch operations. While this may not always be true, there is potential for conflict between the public and private interests from the use of the riparian are for grazing. The ranch costs and benefits of riparian area management are not well documented in the research. The key objective of this study is to list the published research on the economics of riparian area management. The issues concerning riparian are management are first reviewed. An overview of Alberta's riparian area situation is then presented. A brief discussion of the costs and benefits presented in research studies completes the synopsis of the problem. The last section presents a list of literature related to the economics of riparian area management.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 International