Economics ETDs


Robert Fonner

Publication Date



Landscapes can influence natural resource values and management in a variety of ways. These diverse influences can be generated by biophysical or social systems, or interactions between systems. This dissertation examines the landscape determinants of natural resource values and management. Chapter 2 examines moose habitat preferences with a spatial discrete-choice model. The study tests for spatial autocorrelation and compares the results to results from nonspatial models. The objective of this analysis is to explore the human-based and naturally occurring determinants of moose habitat selection while presenting a method and example for addressing spatial correlation between spatially positioned alternatives in a discrete-choice study. The results provide a number of insights into the seasonal habitat preferences of Alaskan moose. The significance of the estimated spatial dependence parameter suggests that accommodating spatial dependence across habitat alternatives is an important consideration in resource selection studies. Application of this modeling framework to natural resource economics is discussed. The third chapter examines demand for forest recreation in a National Forest between 2005 and 2010 with a spatial travel cost model that accounts for landscape effects associated with an individuals home residence. Willingness to pay for access to the forest declined in real terms between 2005 and 2010. This decline is likely related to shifts in the typical mix of activities that draw visitors to the forest and changes in forest quality. The models produce significant estimated spatial dependence parameters, indicating that origin-based spatial dependence is an important consideration for recreation demand modeling. Chapter 4 examines optimal population control of wild horses in the American West across two spatial scales. Removal and fertility control scenarios were simulated and compared in terms of economic benefits and characteristics of the optimal population and management time-paths. The benefits of removal-only management exceeded the benefits of population management using only fertility control. However, fertility control of a fixed proportion of the population increased the net benefits of removal management in some cases. The results also suggest that increasing the Bureau of Land Management resources devoted to horse gathers could substantially improve the effectiveness of fertility control management.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Economics

First Committee Member (Chair)

Janie, Chermak

Second Committee Member

Jennifer, Thacher

Third Committee Member

Bruce, Thomson




Landscape effects, Spatial dependence, Wildlife Managment, Recreation Demand

Document Type