Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Joseph E. Aldy; Randall A. Kramer; Thomas P. Holmes
    Date: 1999
    Source: Society & Natural Resources. 12(2): 93-106.
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: Download Publication  (242 KB)


    Some critics in the environmental equity literature argue that low-income populations disproportionately have environmental risks, while the wealthy and better educated gain disproportionately from protecting unique ecosystems. The authors test this hypothesis in an analysis of the decline of Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forests. They calculate willingness-to-pay measures for forest protection through a contingent valuation survey. Survey respondents consider spruce-fir forest protection to be a normal good (income elasticity: 0.421). Education does not influence willingness-to-pay. In an assessment of willingness-to-pay scaled by income, the authors found that income has a negative effect, implying that as income increases, willingness-to-pay as a percentage of income decreases. Education weakly influences willingness-to-pay in this assessment. Given the substantial existence and bequest values associated with these forests, these results substantiate rejection of the hypothesis that conserving this unique ecosystem only benefits the wealthy and better educated.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Aldy, Joseph E.; Kramer, Randall A.; Holmes, Thomas P. 1999. Environmental equity and the conservation of unique ecosystems: an analysis of the distribution of benefits for protecting Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forests. Society & Natural Resources. 12(2): 93-106.

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page