Farmers' perceived costs of wetlands: Effects of wetland size, hydration, and dispersion

Brett R. Gelso, John A. Fox, Jeffrey M. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


We survey landowners to investigate the costs associated with the presence of permanent or seasonal wetland areas in cropland. We find, as predicted by our conceptual model, that dispersion of wetland areas imposes substantial inconvenience costs for producers but that costs respond nonlinearly and irregularly to changes in the frequency of hydration. Producer attitudes toward conservation and environmental regulation have a significant impact on perceived costs, as do some demographic attributes. The analysis suggests that incentives to aggregate dispersed wetlands into larger contiguous areas could benefit landowners and at the same time provide a net increase in wetland area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-185
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Agricultural Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to Larry Langemeier and Fred DeLano for use of the Kansas Farm Management Association database, to Charles Lee, Ted Cable, and Terry Kastens for input to the survey design, to Tom Marsh and Roger McEowen for assistance with analysis and clarification of legislation, and to Carla Woodyard and Jodi Flynn for assistance with the survey and data management. The comments of editor Stephen Swallow and those of two anonymous reviewers are particularly appreciated. Support was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Project CD 997248-01. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not reflect those of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


  • Perceived costs
  • Wetlands


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