People frequently regard the landscape as part of a static system. The mountains and rivers that cross the landscape, and the bedrock that supports the surface, change little during the course of a lifetime. Society can alter the geologic history of an area and, in so doing, affect the occurrence and impact of environmental hazards. For example, changes in land use can induce changes in erosion, sedimentation, and ground-water supply. As the environmental system is changed by both natural processes and human activities, the system's capacity to respond to additional stresses also changes. Information such as geologic maps describes the physical world and is critical for identifying solutions to land use and environmental issues. In this paper, a method is developed for estimating the economic value of applying geologic map information to siting a waste disposal facility. An improvement in geologic map information is shown to have a net positive value to society. Such maps enable planners to make superior land management decisions.
Additional publication details
Estimating the social value of geologic map information: A regulatory application