Benefit transfer is the economic technique of taking economic benefits measured for one or more goods from a specific location and time and then “transferring“ those values to a different, location, good or time. This technique is used when de novo studies are not feasible due to financial or time constraints, yet the resource manager needs some economic measure of the importance of a non-market good such as wildlife, recreation, views, or ecosystem services. We report the results of a methodological study of the effectiveness of benefit transfer in ecological valuation. Two non-market valuation studies of the value of water availability, riparian habitat and bird abundances were conducted in the Upper San Pedro Basin, AZ, and the Middle Rio Grande , NM. The studies were designed around similar techniques and definitions for goods.
We compare values measured in the San Pedro applied to the Middle Rio Grande with values measured in the Rio Grande and vice versa. We discuss the difficulties encountered in trying to transfer understanding of scientific processes across watersheds and ecosystems and conclude with recommendations for future work.