Environmental Impacts of Land Use Change

Paul J. Schwind

DOI: 10.2190/0EDX-Y0W9-CD3B-G0T5


Better measurement and analysis of environmental impacts are prerequisites to better land use planning. This paper develops an empirical matrix method for expressing the environmental impacts of land uses in a form compatible with economic evaluation techniques such as benefit-cost analysis. Impacts are first measured in standardized physical units, then converted to monetary value, modified by the locationally variable effects of several land characteristics, and finally summed into composite impact cost estimates. The presentation emphasizes the preparation of the kind of data required to operate the method. In a case study example from Hawaii, the method is applied to calculate the environmental impact costs of three alternative land uses at each of three proposed development sites.

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