Warmer temperatures and a decrease in precipitation in the 21st century could severely deplete wetlands in the prairie pothole region of western Canada. In this study, we employ linear regression analysis to determine the casual effect of climate change on wetlands in this region, with temperature, precipitation and the standardized precipitation index (SPI) used to predict the effect of potential climate change on wetlands. We then use a waterfowl–wetlands bioeconomic model to solve for socially optimal levels of duck harvests and wetlands retention under current climate conditions and various climate change scenarios. The model maximizes benefits to hunters plus the amenity values of ducks to non hunters and the non-market ecosystem benefits of wetlands. Results indicate that climate change could decrease wetlands by between 7 and 47%, and that the optimal number of wetlands to retain could decrease by as much as 38% from the baseline climate.
- northern prairie wetlands