A recent study published by the Trust for Public Land, with support from the Vermont Forest Partnership of which Audubon Vermont is a member, quantifies how Vermonter's benefit from the state's investment in conservation. According to the report, every $1 invested in land conservation by Vermont returns $9 in natural goods and services.
Conserved lands in Vermont provide valuable natural goods and services such as water quality protection, flood prevention, food production, wildlife habitat, and air pollution removal – all important to Vermont’s economy and jobs. In addition to this newly quantified value in natural goods and services, the report spells out how land conservation supports thousands of jobs ranging from foresters to farmers to employees at small businesses that rely on outdoor recreation and tourism. For example, Vermont’s forest products industry supports 10,600 jobs and generates $1.48 billion in economic output. The outdoor recreation industry generates 51,000 jobs and $5.5 billion in consumer spending in the state each year.
Bird watchers are an important segment of the outdoor recreation industry. A 2012 study by the US Fish and Wildlife Service offers insight. According to that study Vermont leads the nation with nearly 40% of residents participating in bird watching.
The full Return on Investment in Conservation report for Vermont is available for download at www.tpl.org/vermont-roi