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Economic impact of ecosystem services provided by ecologically sustainable roadside right of way vegetation management practices.
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  • Abstract:
    The economic value of runoff prevention, carbon sequestration, pollination and other insect services, air quality,

    invasive species resistance, and aesthetics was estimated for Florida’s State Highway System roadside right-of-way (ROW) ecosystem using the benefits transfer method. Regardless of whether these benefits are classified as

    ecosystem services or functions, the sum total value of these benefits was conservatively estimated at nearly a

    half billion dollars. Utilizing sustainable vegetation management practices more than doubles the total value. And

    incorporating Wildflower Areas (WAs; remnant native plant communities as well as wildflower plantings) nearly

    triples the value of these benefits. While roadside ROW vegetation historically has been treated as a financial

    liability to fulfill main FDOT functions, information in this report provides evidence that roadside ROW

    vegetation is an asset. The cost of vegetation management, at least $33.5 million in 2011-12, is more than offset

    by the value of only carbon sequestration, a service that potentially could generate income for FDOT via the sale

    of carbon credits. And implementing sustainable management practices will reduce vegetation management costs

    nearly 30 percent. Understanding the economic benefits of the roadside ROW ecosystem and sustainable

    management practices will allow the department to measure outcomes and establish performance targets.

    Findings in this report serve as an incentive for FDOT to gradually implement innovative, broad scale,

    ecologically sustainable roadside ROW vegetation management practices and expand the number and acreage of


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