North Carolina conservation groups say preserving land for public use has long-term economic benefits. A new report from the non-profit Trust for Public Land claims that every dollar North Carolina invests in parks, farms and wilderness has a return of 4 dollars to the local economy. The report measures the “natural goods and services” of different ecosystems in the state. An area is valued by the quality of its air and water and its ability to remove pollutants naturally—making wetlands and forests the most valuable and developed or barren land the least valuable.
Report author Jessica Sargent-Michaud says protecting these areas should be a priority, even in a tough economy.
"Land conservation is not a luxury. It’s an investment that benefits everyone in the State. And continued investment in land conservation is important."
The report also discusses the revenue from tourism and new jobs on protected farmlands and recreation areas.