LSU AgCenter establishes natural resource policy center

Linda Benedict  |  2/16/2010 2:38:30 AM

The Board of Regents and the LSU Board of Supervisors recently approved the establishment of the Center for Natural Resource Economics and Policy at the LSU AgCenter. Rex Caffey, a wetlands and coastal resources economist in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, has been named director.

“The center will be beneficial to the state and the nation because it will bring natural resource economists from many agencies together,” said Gail Cramer, department head. “They will provide policy makers with economic analyses that should be beneficial to decision-making about resource use in Louisiana.”

He said some areas of work could include water use, wetland valuation, farm programs and conservation programs.

“These are issues that could and should be addressed,” Cramer said.

Caffey said economists look at the allocation of scarce resources among competing user groups, as well as location and ownership issues, such as property rights and market and nonmarket valuations.

He said a survey of more than 200 academic departments, centers and institutes in Louisiana colleges and universities showed none focus on policy, management and economics of natural resources.

Calling it a research cooperative and a center without walls, Caffey said the new center’s purpose is to contribute to the sustainability of Louisiana’s natural resources, including energy, coastal and inland wetlands, fisheries, forestry, wildlife, and soil and water.

“Louisiana is the terminus of one of the world’s largest river systems,” Caffey said.

Caffey said the center will host its first national conference, Challenges of Socio-economic Research in Coastal Systems, May 27-28 in Baton Rouge.

In addition to Caffey, other members of the center include Hamady Diop and Walter Keithly of the LSU Coastal Fisheries Institute; Jack Isaacs of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries; Michael Dunn, Steve Henning, Richard Kazmierczak, Krishna Paudel and John Westra of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness; William Olatubi of the LSU Center for Energy Studies; and Richard Vlosky of the School of Renewable Natural Resources.

Rick Bogren

(This article appeared in the spring 2004 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.)

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