Things wild and free: any room for economics in the wilderness?
Document Type: Book Chapter
Author(s): Lloyd C. Irland
Editor(s): James K. Agee; Darryll R. Johnson
Publication Year: 1988

Cataloging Information

  • conservation
  • multiple resource management
  • national parks
  • natural areas management
  • wilderness areas
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: December 4, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 26720
Tall Timbers Record Number: 459
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: QH 75 .E25
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


The choices in wildland ecosystem management are becoming more costly and controversial. Legal mandates, of which the Resources Planning Act (RPA) is the prime example, require the use of economic analysis in planning. Economics though often subject to abuse, offers a tool kit of concepts for thinking about choices. There is nothing in benefit-cost analysis that requires analysts to quantify inappropriately or to ignore incidence and equity questions. Benefit-cost analysis, as a tool for displaying options, values, and costs in suitable accounting stances, should be a basic element in any systematic analysis of a practical problem. The most valuable use of economics is in framing a disciplined thinking process for the precise definition of objectives, decision criteria, options, costs, and accounting stances. Economic thinking is valuable as a solvent for specious arguments and as an aid in listening to the future.

Irland, L. C. 1988. Things wild and free: any room for economics in the wilderness?, in JK Agee and DR Johnson eds., Ecosystem management for parks and wilderness. Seattle, University of Washington Press, Institute of Forest Resources Contribution No. 65, p. 160-179.