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Price and Welfare Effects of Catastrophic Forest Damage From Southern Pine Beetle Epidemics

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Southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis) epidemics are periodically responsible for catastrophic levels of mortality to southern yellow pine forests. Traditional forest damage appraisal techniques developed for site specific economic analysis are theoretically weak since they do not consider aggregate impacts across ecosystems and related markets. Because the traditional model estimates losses only to producers with damaged forests, it provides misleading information from a distributional standpoint by ignoring impacts on producers with undamaged forests and timber consumers. An economic model of timber supply and demand is introduced and used to develop a new technique for estimating short-run market level impacts of catastrophic forest damages. The null hypothesis that catastrophic disruption of forest ecosystem production has no effect on timber markets is tested using intervention analysis and data on the recent Texas-Louisiana epidemic. Parameter estimates are used to compute short-run changes in economic welfare for producers on damaged forests, producers on undamaged forests, and timber consumers. Principal findings are: (1) changes in social welfare resulting from catastrophic damage to standing timber across forest ecosystems requires market-level analysis, and (2) the net change in economic welfare resulting from insect epidemics is unambiguously negative. For. Sci. 37(2):500-516.

Keywords: Intervention analysis; impact assessment; time series

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Research Forester, USDA Forest Service Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, P.O. Box 12254, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709

Publication date: June 1, 1991

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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