Our State’s Natural Capital
The health and well being of Louisiana’s citizens depends
on the state’s resource-based economy. Energy,
wetlands, fisheries, wildlife, forests, land, and water –
Louisiana’s natural capital assets – must be efficiently
managed for both current and future generations.
Efficient management, however, implies more than just a focus
on extraction and utilization, jobs and income. Efficient
management also calls for a careful analysis of the intergenerational
effects of resource investment decisions and the institutions
that manage the allocation of the resources. This kind
of multifaceted analysis is the focus of natural resource
and environmental economics. Together with biophysical
scientists, resource and environmental economists can help
improve the long-term management of Louisiana’s natural
Economic Research and Extension
Louisiana has seen a steady expansion in public funding for
natural resource management, especially in the areas of coastal
restoration and farm-based conservation. The wise use
of this funding requires a coordinated resource economics
program that contributes to the policy making process.
As more ambitious plans for conservation and restoration unfold,
economists will increasingly be called on for their expertise
in non-market valuation, property rights and public goods,
resource allocation, and compensation analysis. While
some of this research has occurred in Louisiana, efforts have
been fragmented and widely dispersed across different research
units and campuses.
The Center for Natural Resource Economics and Policy (CNREP)
was established in January 2004 to coordinate the activities
of resource economists and policy professionals and to provide
a focal point for organizing and marketing their efforts to
resource managers and other constituents.
Natural Resource for Decision-Makers
The development of sound resource management plans will always
involve complex economic and environmental tradeoffs.
As new technological approaches emerge to address resource
problems, policy makers will inevitably seek estimates of
the costs and benefits associated with pursuing different
courses of action. CNREP provides a resource for those agencies
seeking the socioeconomic information required to fully evaluate
new environmental programs and projects.
The ultimate challenge of resource management involves reconciling
the duel needs for economic viability and environmental integrity.
CNREP will help Louisiana to meet this challenge by improving
the efficiency and equity of the state’s natural capital
management and allocation.