MANAGEMENT SERIES, NO. 15:
SOCIOECONOMIC DISASTER State Study: Green\
and Deer Reduction are Economic Boondoggles
In November 2012, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee
(a Joint Committee of the Pennsylvania General Assembly) released
a report on the costs and benefits of a "green"
certification agreement between the Department of Conservation
and Natural Resources and the German-based Forest Stewardship
Council (FSC), including the impact of certification on hunting.
The results of the study indicated that the Game Commission's
deer-reduction program was caused by DCNR's green-certification
program, and that both the green-certification and deer-reduction
programs are socioeconomic disasters for the Commonwealth.
to the report, "By 1999, DCNR had enrolled all of
its 2.1 million acres of state forests in the FSC certification
program. FSC certification was contingent upon DCNR reducing
the number of deer in state forests. DCNR then worked with
the PA Game Commission... Since there is little to no policing
of the certified parties... certification amounts to little
more than a right to use the FSC logo in marketing. In some
cases, environmental activists use certification to place
barriers on communities." (Note that this happened
in Pennsylvania when DCNR and PGC used green certification
to achieve deer reduction.)
the LB&FC Report: "The economic benefits
of FSC certification are modest. Between 2001 and 2006, DCNR
earned a premium of about $7.7 million. DCNR has a 5-year
contract for $101,736. DCNR also incurs some indirect costs."
This represents an average annual gain of $1,283,333,
minus about $200,000 in costs. Therefore, DCNR's net income
from green certification is about $1 million per year.
according to the LB&FC Report, the social and
economic costs to the Commonwealth are exorbitant.
"The number of general hunting licenses sold by the
PGC has fallen from 1.05 million in 2001 to about 933,000
in 2011. Nationally, however, hunting participation increased
by 5 percent between 2001 and 2011. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service estimates average 2011 expenditures per hunter at
$2,484. The decline in hunter participation between 2001 and
2011 therefore represents a potential loss of $285 million
(per year) in direct economic activity." Adding
to that loss the 5 percent national increase in hunting that
has not been realized in Pennsylvania, the annual economic
loss for the Commonwealth is calculated to be about $415 million
per year. The cumulative economic impact to the Commonwealth
between 2001 and 2013 as a result of the green-certification/deer-reduction
program is calculated to be $3.39 billion.
socioeconomic costs are exemplified in northern-tier counties.
According to Jack Krafft, owner of First Fork Lodge in Potter
County, "On Eleven Mile Run Road I counted only 9
vehicles in 11 miles on the first day of the 2004 deer season,
and on the first Saturday only 1 vehicle in 11 miles. Traditionally
the lodge has had the same 27 out-of-state hunters on the
first week of rifle buck season. Combined, the 27 hunters
saw only 10 deer during the week. Only 2 returned for 2005,
representing a loss of $60,000 for the lodge." Jack
lost 55 of 57 out-of-state bow hunters because of the lack
of deer. There were nine motels for sale between Galeton and
Coudersport. In 2013, Jack stated that over 60 of the 145
businesses belonging to the Potter County Visitors Association
were for sale because of PGC's deer-reduction program. This
does not count the small businesses that do not belong to
the PCVA that have already closed or are for sale.
Deer Management Series, No.s 11-14 demonstrate that there
have been no scientific benefits or justification for PGC's
deer-reduction program—not for deer health, forest health,
nor biodiversity. It is, herein, demonstrated that the modest
$1 million economic benefit from DCNR's green-certification
program cannot begin to justify the great and lasting costs
of deer reduction—the loss of upwards of 200,000 hunters,
and a cumulative 14-year economic loss for the Commonwealth
that has reached $4 billion and continues to increase at the
rate of $415 million each year that the deer reduction program