Estimating the size and impact of the ecological restoration economy

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Abstract

Domestic public debate continues over the economic impacts of environmental regulations that require environmental restoration. This debate has occurred in the absence of broadscale empirical research on economic output and employment resulting from environmental restoration, restoration-related conservation, and mitigation actions-the activities that are part of what we term the "restoration economy." In this article, we provide a high-level accounting of the size and scope of the restoration economy in terms of employment, value added, and overall economic output on a national scale. We conducted a national survey of businesses that participate in restoration work in order to estimate the total sales and number of jobs directly associated with the restoration economy, and to provide a profile of this nascent sector in terms of type of restoration work, industrial classification, workforce needs, and growth potential. We use survey results as inputs into a national input-output model (IMPLAN 3.1) in order to estimate the indirect and induced economic impacts of restoration activities. Based on this analysis we conclude that the domestic ecological restoration sector directly employs ~ 126,000 workers and generates ~ $9.5 billion in economic output (sales) annually. This activity supports an additional 95,000 jobs and $15 billion in economic output through indirect (business-to-business) linkages and increased household spending. Copyright:

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Bendor, T., Lester, T. W., Livengood, A., Davis, A., & Yonavjak, L. (2015). Estimating the size and impact of the ecological restoration economy. PLoS ONE, 10(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0128339

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