USING PREDICTED MARKET VALUES FOR ECOLOGICALLY VALUABLE NATURAL LANDS IN LAND PRESERVATION PROGRAM OPTIMAL TARGETING SCHEME: APPLICATION TO MARYLAND'S GREENPRINT PROGRAM
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Thirty-eight U.S. states have programs to preserve land with ecological value yet few consider land acquisition costs in their selection criteria although targeting could improve the efficiency of these programs. To demonstrate this, a hedonic model is estimated on land characteristics including those that contribute to ecosystem services from recent arms' length market transactions. The estimated parameters are used to predict market values of parcels greater than 10 acres in three southern Maryland counties. The study compares targeting packages developed through overall benefits optimization, specific benefits optimization, and acreage optimization subject to projected budgets. The results suggest including market values permits Maryland's GreenPrint program, designed to protect ecologically valuable land, to preserve more acreage among parcels rated "excellent" for ecological characteristics. Comparing unconstrained parcel choice sets with the study's three county, unimproved parcel, and 100+ acre parcel constraints highlights the benefits of developing targeting packages from unconstrained parcel choice sets.