Research on how landowners make decisions

I study how landowners make decisions by developing a basic empirical understanding of drivers of land-use change at multiple scales, with an emphasis on the effects of land-use policy on decision-making. Since land-use change is a fundamental driver of changes in ecosystem services, quality empirical analysis of drivers of land-use change is of central importance in better understanding both the causes of, and potential solutions to, ecosystem service degradation. The recent emergence of fine-scale spatial land-use data from satellite imagery and local agencies has created many opportunities to improve econometric land-use models. However, land-use models still face the challenge of identifying the effects of policy apart from unobservable variables that also affect land use. My empirical work focuses on i) developing micro-econometric techniques applied to land-use modeling, ii) improving on methods to econometrically model unobserved landowner heterogeneity, iii) developing novel spatial panel datasets for estimation of land-use models, and iv) understanding the interactions between policy, landscape amenities, climate, and landowner decisions. My applications have ranged from detailed analyses of local land-use processes within individual U.S. counties, to more aggregated analyses at larger national scales, to international applications in European Russia and China. Current projects emphasize modeling land-use change as an adaptation strategy to climate change and climate policy. I have a new project to develop a national econometric model of climate change adaptation through forest management choices of harvest and replanting, with subsequent integration with ecosystem service models.

Refereed Journal Articles (copies of published versions available via my Google Scholar page)

  • Bigelow, D.P., Lewis, D.J., and C. Mihiar. 2022. A major shift in U.S. land development avoids significant losses in forest and agricultural land. Environmental Research Letters, 17(2): 024007. Press coverage: ( 1/27/2022; Anthropocene 2/1/2022)
  • Hashida, Y.*, and D.J. Lewis. 2019. “The Intersection between Climate Adaptation, Mitigation, and Natural Resources: An Empirical Analysis of Forest Management.” Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, 6(5): 893-926. (PDF version) (Supplementary appendix).
  • *Bigelow, D.P., Plantinga, A.J., Lewis, D.J., and C. Langpap. 2017. How Does Urbanization Affect Water Withdrawals? Insights from an Econometric-Based Landscape Simulation. Land Economics, 93(3): 413-436. (PDF version) (Supplementary appendix). Press coverage: (Eugene Register Guard 10/8/17), (Western Farmer Stockman 10/16/17)
  • *Zipp, K.Y., Lewis, D.J., and B. Provencher. 2017. Does the Conservation of Land Reduce Development? An Econometric-Based Landscape Simulation with Land Market Feedbacks. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 81: 19-37. (PDF version) (Supplementary Appendix)
  • Jones, K.J., and D.J. Lewis. 2015. Estimating the Counterfactual Impact of Conservation Programs on Land Cover Outcomes: The Role of Matching and Panel Regression Techniques. PLOS One 10(10): e0141380.
  • *Wendland, K.J., Baumann, M., Lewis, D.J., Sieber, A., and V.C. Radeloff. 2015. Protected Area Effectiveness in European Russia: A Post-Matching Panel Data Analysis. Land Economics, 91(1): 149-168. (PDF version).
  • *Wendland, K., Lewis, D.J., and J. Alix-Garcia. 2014. The Effect of Decentralized Governance on Timber Extraction in European Russia. Environmental and Resource Economics, 57: 19-40. (PDF version).
  • Plantinga, A.J., and D.J. Lewis. 2014. Landscape Simulations with Econometric-Based Land-Use Models. Chapter 15 in the Oxford Handbook of Land Economics, Oxford University Press, New York. (PDF version).
  • *Robinson, B.E., Provencher, B., and D.J. Lewis. 2013. Managing Wild Resources: Institutional Choice and the Recovery of Resource Rent in Southwest China. World Development, 48: 120-132. (PDF version).
  • Radeloff, V.C., Nelson, E., Plantinga, A.J., Lewis, D.J., Helmers, D., Lawler, J.J., Withey, J.C., Beaudry, F., Martinuzzi, S., Butsic, V., Lonsdorf, E., White, D., and S. Polasky. 2012. Economic-Based Projections of Future Land-Use under Alternative Economic Policy Scenarios in the Conterminous U.S. Ecological Applications, 22(3): 1036-1049.
  • *Wendland, K., Lewis, D.J., Alix-Garcia, J., Ozdogan, M., Baumann, M., and V. Radeloff. 2011. Regional- and District-Level Drivers of Timber Harvesting in European Russia after the Collapse of the Soviet Union. Global Environmental Change, 21: 1290-1300.
  • *Butsic, V., Lewis, D.J., and *L. Ludwig. 2011. An Econometric Analysis of Land Development with Endogenous Zoning. Land Economics, 87(3): 412-432. (PDF version).
  • Lewis, D.J., Barham, B.L., and *B. Robinson. 2011. Are there Spatial Spillovers in the Adoption of Clean Technology? The Case of Organic Dairy Farming. Land Economics, 87(2): 250-267. (PDF version).
  • Lewis, D.J. 2010. An Economic Framework for Forecasting Land Use and Ecosystem Change. Resource and Energy Economics, 32(2): 98-116. (PDF version).
  • Lewis, D.J., Provencher, B., and V. Butsic. 2009. The Dynamic Effects of Open-Space Conservation Policies on Residential Development Density. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 57(3): 239-252. (PDF version).
  • Lewis, D.J., Barham, B.L., and K. Zimmerer. 2008. Spatial Externalities in Agriculture: Empirical Analysis, Statistical Identification, and Policy Implications. World Development, 36(10): 1813-1829. (PDF version).
  • Alig, R.J., D.J. Lewis, and J.J. Swenson. 2005. Is Forest Fragmentation Driven by the Spatial Configuration of Land Quality? The Case of Western Oregon. Forest Ecology and Management, 217: 266-274.

Research on how land-use decisions affect ecosystem services

Land-use decisions can alter the composition and patterns of landscapes, and thereby affect the services that natural ecosystems provide to people. My research focuses on the coupling of empirical economic and ecological analysis. Much of this work focuses on applying coupled models to better understand the effects of alternative policy or land-use scenarios on various measures of ecosystem services. The work is multi-disciplinary and includes many ecologists, conservation biologists, and remote sensing experts.

Refereed Journal Articles (copies of published versions available via my Google Scholar page)

  • *Davis, E.C., Sohngen, B., and D.J. Lewis. 2022. The effect of carbon fertilization on naturally regenerated and planted U.S. forests. Nature Communications, 13 (5490): (Press:
  • *Hashida, Y., Withey, J., Lewis, D.J., Newman, T., and J. Kline. 2020. Anticipating changes in wildlife habitat induced by private forest owners’ adaptation to climate change and carbon policy. PLOS ONE 15(4): e0230525. Online version.
  • Butsic, V., Lewis, D.J., Radeloff, V.C., and T. Kuemmerle. 2017. Quasi-Experimental Methods Enable Stronger Inferences from Observational Data in Ecology. Basic and Applied Ecology, 19: 1-10.
  • Martinuzzi, S., Radeloff, V.C., Joppa, L.N., Hamilton, C.M., Helmers, D.P., Plantinga, A.J., and D.J. Lewis. 2015. Scenarios of Future Land Use Change around United States Protected Areas. Biological Conservation, 184: 446-455.
  • Lawler, J., Lewis, D., Nelson, E., Plantinga, A., Polasky, S., Withey, J., Helmers, D., Martinuzzi, S., and V. Radeloff. 2014. Projected Land-Use Change Impacts on U.S. Ecosystem Services. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(20): 7492-7497. (PDF version). Press coverage: ( 9/24/2014)
  • Beaudry, F., Radeloff, V.C., Pigeon, A.M., Plantinga, A.J., Lewis, D.J., Helmers, D., and V. Butsic. 2013. The Loss of Forest Birds Habitat under Different Land Use Policies as Projected by a Coupled Ecological-Econometric Model. Biological Conservation, 165: 1-9.
  • Martinuzzi, S., Radeloff, V.C., Higgins, J.V., Helmers, D.P., Plantinga, A.J. and D.J. Lewis. 2013. Key Areas for Conserving United States Biodiversity Likely Threatened by Future Land Use Change. Ecosphere, 4(5): 1-13.
  • Hamilton,C.M., Martinuzzi,S., Heglund,P.J., Lewis, D.J., Plantinga, A.J., Thogmartin,W.E., Radeloff, V.C., and A.M. Pidgeon. 2013. Current and Future Land Use around a Nationwide Protected Area Network. PLOS One, 8(1): 1-12.
  • Butsic, V., Lewis, D.J., and V.C. Radeloff. 2010. Lakeshore Zoning has Heterogeneous Ecological Effects: An Application of a Coupled Economic-Ecological Model. Ecological Applications, 20(3):867-879. (PDF version).

Research on how the public values ecosystem services

Ecosystems provide services that benefit people, though many services like wildlife habitat and the filtering of water pollutants have no observable prices. My research focuses on analyzing the demand for conservation and ecosystem services in order to yield insights into how the public values ecosystem services. My general approach has used contemporary non-market valuation techniques and regional economic models. My research contributions have focused on i) using hedonic property value models to understand how aspects of the natural environment capitalize into land values, ii) constructing stated preference analyses of the public’s demand for improvements in ecosystem services, and iii) estimating the effects of conservation amenities on local community economies. Applications have focused on conservation lands and ecosystem services from lake and coastal systems.

Refereed Journal Articles (copies of published versions available via my Google Scholar page)

  • Lewis, D.J., Kling, D.M., Dundas, S.J., and D.K. Lew. 2022. Estimating the value of threatened species abundance dynamics. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 113: 102639.
  • Hashida, Y., and D.J. Lewis. 2022. Estimating welfare impacts of climate change using a discrete-choice model of land management: An application to western U.S. forestry. Resource and Energy Economics, 68: 101295.
  • *Mihiar, C., and D.J. Lewis. 2021. Climate, adaptation, and the value of forestland: A national Ricardian analysis of the United States. Land Economics, 91(4): 911-932.
  • Chen, Y., Lewis, D.J., and B. Weber. 2021. Natural amenities and skill sorting in rural communities: A case study of land conservation policy. The Annals of Regional Science 67: 649-669. (PDF version)
  • *Long, D., Lewis, D.J., and Langpap, C. 2021. Negative traffic externalities and infant health: The role of income heterogeneity and residential sorting. Environmental and Resource Economics 80: 637-674. (PDF version)
  • Dundas, S.J., and D.J. Lewis. 2020. Estimating option values and spillover damages for coastal protection: Evidence from Oregon’s Planning Goal 18. Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists 7(3): 519-554. (PDF version). Press Coverage ( 2/7/20)
  • Lewis, D.J., Dundas, S.J., Kling, D.M., Lew, D.K., and S.D. Hacker. 2019. The non-market benefits of early and partial gains in managing threatened salmon. PLOS ONE 14(8): e0220260. Press Coverage: (Science Daily 8/14/2019); ( 8/16/2019); (Western Farmer Stockman 9/6/2019)
  • *Zipp, K.Y., Lewis, D.J., Provencher, B., and J. Vander Zanden. 2019. The spatial dynamics of the economic impacts of an aquatic invasive species: An empirical analysis. Land Economics, 95(1): 1-18. (PDF version).
  • Chen, Y., Lewis, D.J., and B. Weber. 2016. Conservation Land Amenities and Regional Economies: A Post-Matching Difference-in-Differences Analysis of the Northwest Forest Plan. Journal of Regional Science, 56(3):373-394. (PDF version).
  • Lewis, D.J., B. Provencher., and B. Beardmore. 2015. Using an Intervention Framework to Value Salient Ecosystem Services in a Stated Preference Experiment. Ecological Economics, 114: 141-151. (PDF version).
  • Provencher, B., Lewis, D.J., and K. Anderson. 2012. Disentangling Preferences and Expectations in Stated Preference Analysis with Respondent Uncertainty: The Case of Invasive Species Prevention. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 64(2): 169-182. (PDF version).
  • *Horsch, E.J., and D.J. Lewis. 2009. The Effects of Aquatic Invasive Species on Property Values: Evidence from a Quasi Experiment. Land Economics, 85(3): 391-409. (PDF version).
  • Lewis, D.J., G.L. Hunt, and A.J. Plantinga. 2003. Does Public Lands Policy Affect Local Wage Growth? Growth and Change, 34(1): 64-86. (PDF version).
  • Lewis, D.J., G.L. Hunt, and A.J. Plantinga. 2002. Public Conservation Land and Employment Growth in the Northern Forest Region. Land Economics, 78(2): 245-259. (PDF version).

Research on designing conservation policy to provide ecosystem services

Land-use decisions generate benefits and costs to many people who are not involved with those decisions. These pervasive externalities imply that ecosystem services are not efficiently provided by private landscapes. Conservation policy can internalize externalities by provide incentives for landowners to account for the ecosystem service production that is affected by their land-use decisions. A particular interest of mine is understanding policy design in the presence of asymmetric information, spatially dependent ecosystem service production functions, and climate change induced shifts in wildlife. I have devoted significant attention to theoretical mechanism design issues, and to the integration of empirical economic models with spatially-explicit landscape and wildlife simulation models. The empirical applications are notable for explicit incorporation of uncertain policy effects. This research is multi-disciplinary and includes collaborators in landscape and wildlife ecology.

Refereed Journal Articles (copies of published versions available via my Google Scholar page)

  • Lewis, D.J., and S. Polasky. 2018. An auction mechanism for the optimal provision of ecosystem services under climate change. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 92: 20-34. (PDF version).
  • Lewis, D.J., and J. Wu. 2015. Land-Use Patterns and Spatially Dependent Ecosystem Services: Some Microeconomic Foundations. International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, 8(2): 191-223. (PDF Version).
  • Polasky, S., Lewis, D.J., Plantinga, A.J., and E. Nelson. 2014. Implementing the Optimal Provision of Ecosystem Services. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(17): 6248-6253. (PDF version).
  • Lewis, D.J., and E. Nelson. 2014. The Economics of Wildlife Conservation. Chapter 7 in the Oxford Handbook of Land Economics, Oxford University Press, New York. (PDF version).
  • *Butsic, V., Lewis, D.J., and V. Radeloff. 2013. Reserve Selection with Land Market Feedbacks. Journal of Environmental Management, 114: 276-284.
  • Lewis, D.J., Plantinga, A.J., Nelson, E., and S. Polasky. 2011. The Efficiency of Voluntary Incentive Policies for Preventing Biodiversity Loss. Resource and Energy Economics, 33(1): 192-211. (PDF version).
  • Lewis, D.J., Plantinga, A.J., and J. Wu. 2009. Targeting Incentives to Reduce Habitat Fragmentation. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 91(4): 1080-1096. (PDF version).
  • Nelson, E., Polasky, S., Lewis, D.J., Plantinga, A.J., Lonsdorf, E., White, D., Bael, D., and J. Lawler. 2008. Efficiency of Incentives to Jointly Increase Carbon Sequestration and Species Conservation on a Landscape. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(28): 9471-9476. (PDF Version)
  • Lewis, D.J., and A.J. Plantinga. 2007. Policies for Habitat Fragmentation: Combining Econometrics with GIS-Based Landscape Simulations. Land Economics, 83(2): 109-127. (PDF version).

Note: * above signifies a paper written with a graduate student as part of their research.

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