Laura Villegas. Integrating Econometric Models of Land Use Change with Models of Ecosystem Services and Landscape Simulations to Guide Coastal Management and Planning for Flood Control. EfD Discussion Paper Series DP 19-13
This study develops an integrated framework to evaluate the relative effectiveness of alternative land use policies that target the management of natural resources in the face of climate change pressures. This framework is then applied to evaluate the relative performance of three different land use regulations that protect natural resources and alter current trends of urbanization using data from three rapidly urbanizing coastal counties in the southeastern United States facing growing risks of flooding. The framework developed in this study is an iterative procedure that integrates a spatially explicit econometric model of land use change, local ecosystem service delivery, and feedback mechanisms among land use, ecosystem services, and land values in a dynamic framework.The study uses landscape simulations to examine how spatial patterns of urbanization and alternative coastal development policies affect land use decisions, and how these decisions affect the conservation of critical wetland habitat in the physical landscape and the landscape's general capacity to mitigate risks from future flooding. The results indicate that price instruments based on land value and depending on landscape composition are mostly not cost-effective strategies. However, other policies can be modestly effective in altering urban development patterns; such policies may also be effective at reducing the cost of property repairs after a major flood, raising tax revenues, or delivering a marginally more equal spatial distribution of damages. The findings also illustrate how natural infrastructure, such as wetlands, is beneficial to coastal communities in terms of flood control.