In this pioneering study, Krutilla and Fisher put the amenity resources of natural environments into an analytical framework comparable to that for the extractive resources. The models and theoretical background of their techniques are illustrated by case studies which include the controversial Hells Canyon dam, the Mineral King ski resort, and the Trans-Alaska pipeline. The authors point out that resource development activities undertaken on public lands often receive financial advantages---preferential tax treatment, subsidized capital, and access to public resources---that are not taken into account in the costs of the project. True evaluation of the costs and benefits of a development project often tips the balance in favor of preserving an area in a natural state.
Part 1: Institutional and Theoretical Considerations 1. Managing Natural Environment 2. Externalities, Property Rights, and Valuation of Resources on the Public Lands 3. Irreversibility and the Optimal Use of Natural Environments 4. Further Analysis of Irreversibility: Discounting, Intergenerational Transfers, and Uncertainty Part 2: Applying the Analysis: Selected Case Studies 5. Hells Canyon: Asymmetric Implications of Technical Change for Value of Alternative Uses 6. Hells Canyon Continued: Evaluation of Environmental Costs 7. The White Cloud Peaks: Wilderness Recreation or Mine-Mill Operations? 8. Mineral King Valley: Demand Theory and Resource Valuation 9. Allocation of Prairie Wetlands 10. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline: Environmental Consequences and Alternatives 11. Summary, Conclusions, and Policy Recommendations