Broad-winged Hawk

Return on Environment

Placing value on what we value most
Broad-winged Hawk. Photo: Mark Moschell/Flickr CC BY 2.0

Return on Environment

Placing value on what we value most

Return on Environment (ROE) is the process of estimating the financial value of open space. Since 2011, Audubon Pennsylvania has facilitated ROE studies in eight counties along the Kittatinny Ridge corridor and five townships in the Delaware River Watershed. Building on previous research, and using standard economic analysis techniques, ROE places a monetary value on green space and the ecosystem services those resources provide. Accounting for the value of trees, fields, forests, and streams in filtering our water, cleaning our air, mitigating floods and stormwater runoff, pollinating plants, and providing habitats and other environmental services is critical to thoughtful decision-making. ROE provides a method for incorporating the value of ecosystem services into discussions and policy decisions regarding land use and development. Also included in the valuation model are the impacts on individuals and property values. Opportunities for outdoor recreation result in decreased healthcare costs and properties are more valuable when they are in close proximity to open space.

ROE is a collaboration between the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Audubon, Keystone Conservation Trust, Greener Planning, and Ben Goodman Creative. The team believes that by understanding nature’s financial value, and how it is connected to our quality of life and well-being, communities are better equipped to strike an effective balance between maintaining connected open spaces and supporting smart growth. This approach helps improve environmental quality and ensures a sustainable economy.

Use the links below to access specific details and printable fact sheets for each of the ROE studies completed in Pennsylvania.

Schuylkill Highlands Cluster ROE Studies

Click here for links to additional ROE studies completed for the Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape in the counties listed below.​

  • Berks County
  • Carbon County
  • Cumberland County
  • Dauphin County
  • Franklin County
  • Lebanon County
  • Lehigh County
  • Perry County

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