URI alumnus discusses economic tradeoffs in New England coastal management

Media Contact: Meredith Haas, 401 874-6019

Economic expert says patterns in economic values and tradeoffs
sometimes contradict common assumptions in management

Dr_JohnstonKINGSTON, R.I. – February 6, 2014 — Dr. Robert Johnston will discuss the economic impacts of climate change to kickoff the first of the Coastal State Discussion series on Tuesday, February 25 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the University Club on the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston campus.

Johnston is a professor of economics and the director for the George Perkins Marsh Institute at Clark University and a URI alumnus who received his doctorate from the Department of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics. His research focuses on the economic values and tradeoffs of certain coastal management schemes used throughout New England to mitigate climate change impacts from storms, flooding, erosion, and sea level rise. He will explore the challenges of balancing waterfront development with effective protection of coastal ecosystem services and related costs and benefits to management decisions.

“Particular attention is given to the linkages between natural and social sciences necessary to quantify these effects,” he said, explaining that he will draw from examples on waterfront development and watershed restoration in Maine, as well as alternative coastal adaptation strategies, including economic values, and the implications for communities’ adaptation choices as part of an ongoing project in Connecticut.

The results, he says, demonstrate patterns in economic values and tradeoffs that sometimes contradict common assumptions.

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