Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural Economics

Document Type



Louisiana is the beneficiary of more than 30% of the U.S. coastal wetlands, but the state’s wetland loss accounts for about 90% of the total throughout the continental United States. The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act of 1990 and the $1.9 billion that has recently been dedicated by Congress for coastal restoration activities will certainly aid in restoration efforts. However, these dedicated funds are but a small fraction of the total monies that will be required to maintain/restore Louisiana’s degraded wetlands. Recent estimates suggest restoration activities will cost, at a minimum, about $14 billion. The research, based on 119 wetland property transactions throughout Southwest Louisiana, develops an hedonic model which relates price to various property characteristics. These characteristics include type of property (i.e., fresh marsh, intermediate marsh, brackish and saline marsh, open water, and “other” property), distance from the nearest road, distance from the coast, and whether the property is in an area where projected wetland loss during the next 50 years is anticipated. Results indicate that fresh marsh and “other” land (this is a “catchall” category for property that is not specifically delineated as wetlands or open water) is valued more than open water (on a per acre basis) in the private market. However, intermediate marsh is valued less than open water in the private market. Depending upon the model specification, brackish and saline marsh is valued in the private market as either higher than open water or the same as open water (in a statistical sense). Results further suggest that buyers will, at least to some extent, discount properties in those areas where future wetland loss is anticipated (i.e., prices of properties in these areas are less after controlling for the influence of all other factors). This discounting increases as the rate of projected loss increases. Whether this discounting of future losses reflects previous losses remains untested.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Walter R. Keithly, Jr.