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Gregory Amacher

Julian N. Cheatham Professor of Natural Resource Economics

Ph.D., University of Michigan (1993); M.S., University of Michigan (1991); A.M., University of Michigan (1990); A.M., University of Michigan (1989); B.S., Pennsylvania State University (1984)


Interest Areas: Natural Resource and Environmental Economics, International Forestry and Development, Public Finance and Policy Instruments.
Teaching Responsibilities
  • ECON 4014 Environmental Economics

  • NR 4014 Natural Resource Economics

  • FOR 5415 Dynamic Optimization and Natural Resource Economics

Selected Scholarly Activities
  • Land and resource use on the Amazon floodplain under evolving management systems and environmental change: Fish, forests, cattle, and settlements:

    This NASA funded project will consider the impact of varying institutional arrangements on natural resource use and welfare of resource dependent users.  Of particular interest are the implications of different enforcement and management/ownership regimes for permanent and temporary fisheries in the Varzea region of Amazonia.  The project is a joint effort among economists, fisheries scientists, and geospatial researchers.

  • A Conservation Agriculture Production System Program for the Central Plateau of Haiti:

    This SANREM USAID funded project examines strategies for adaptation to climate change among poor farmers in the Central Plateau of Haiti, as well as response to health and other shocks.  A key component is study of the adoption of conservation agriculture among farmers, the importance of market shifts, and the variability of rainfall to decision making. The impact of natural resources to decisions and wealth is also a central factor.  The project involves collaboration with soil scientists interested in implementing conservation agricultural practices in the region, and sociologists interested in network mapping and information diffusion. Partners include Zamni Lasante (Partners in Health) and the University of Haiti among others.

  • Economics of Forest Resources,” by G. Amacher, M. Ollikainen, and E. Koskela, will be published by The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, USA.  This graduate level textbook/research handbook surveys most areas comprising the field of forest resource economics, with special focus on advancements made within the last 30 years.  Both deterministic and stochastic models are covered, in addition to problems with special relevance to policy instruments.  The tentative publication date is May of 2009. 

Buy the book from Amazon.com at this link

Errata for chapters 1-6, 8, 10-12

The impact of the real interest rate on the optimal rotation age in the Hartman model: A correction of comparative statics of real interest rate in Amacher et al. 2009 (October 2012)

Preface; Chapter 1: A Brief History of Forest Economics Thought; Chapter 2: Faustmann Rotations Models; Chapter 3: Hartman Rotations Models; Chapter 4: Two Period Life Cycle Models; Chapter 5: Forest Policy Design; Chapter 6: Deforestation: Problems and Models; Chapter 7: Conservation of Biodiversity; Chapter 8: Forest Age Class Models; Chapter 9: Uncertainty in Two Period Models; Chapter 10: Catastrophic Risk; Chapter 11: Stochastic Rotations Models; Chapter 12: Dynamic Forest Models; Mathematics Appendix

****Check back later for a sample chapter****

  • The role of natural resources in mitigating political, environmental, and health shocks to extremely poor households in Southeastern Africa (2006 – 2011).  This collaborative effort funded by the National Science Foundation seeks to study the role of natural resources in mitigating political, environmental, and health shocks among extremely poor households in Mozambique and Uganda. Institutions involved include Virginia Tech, Woods Hole Research Center, Harvard Medical School, and Dartmouth University. One special focus is the revitalization of the Gorongosa National Park and its importance in alleviating shocks to subsistence households in both embedded and nearby village economies. Several PhD students will be involved in a multi-disciplinary setting that encompasses health professionals, geo-spatial experts, economists, historians, and ecologists.
  • Feedbacks among forestry, agriculture, and fire in Amazonia (2003 – 2008).  This project, funded by the National Science Foundation, is a multiyear research project that includes ecologists, economists, political scientists, and land use specialists from Virginia Tech, Woods Hole Research Center, Boston University, Yale University, IPAM (Brazil), and the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. The work focuses on development of models explaining deforestation, particularly through understanding the behavior of subsistence smallholders and patterning of forest industry expansion on new and future Amazon forest frontiers. We are ultimately interested in how these respond to various policy scenarios, market shifts, and government programs. The logging and smallholder models being developed at Virginia Tech will eventually be integrated into a spatially explicit model of development and logging expansion to predict patterns of deforestation over time.
  • Economics of forest threats:  My work here covers multiple projects focusing on both private and public management of fuel reduction, fire prevention, and fire suppression, in both urban and rural interfaces, in addition to problems involving invasive species and other pests (such as Southern Pine beetle). The purpose is to determine not only the mechanisms explaining why landowners choose to undertake risk mitigation, but to also embed this behavior into models that facilitate the design of policies to reach various risk reduction goals. Other interests are to understand the relationship between neighboring landowners in targeting policy instruments, and to discover ways of estimating the social costs associated with private decisions as a precursor to designing the best types of policies when needed.
Editorships, Awards, and Honorary Appointments
  • Senior Editor, Natural Resource Modeling, (2004- 2007); Assoc. Ed (2007-2010)
  • Editor, Forest Science, (2001-2004)
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Forest Economics, (1999- )
  • Editorial Council, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, (1999-2011)
  • Associate Editor, Forest Science, (1999-2001)
  • Associate Researcher, Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia (IPAM)
  • Honorary Adjunct Professor, Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Past Visiting Scholar, University of Gothenberg Department of Environmental Economics (Sweden)
  • Past Visiting Scholar, University of Helsinki Department of Economics
  • Past Visiting Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Economics
  • Adjunct Professor, Virginia Tech Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and Department of Economics
  • 2003 Panhellenic Teaching Excellence Certificate
  • 2003 College of Natural Resources and Environment Excellence in Teaching Award
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