Center for Natural Resource Economics & Policy

The Center for Natural Resource Economics & Policy (CNREP) is an academic research center that provides technical assistance to local governments and organizations on economic and finance issues relating to natural resources.

The Center for Natural Resource Economics & Policy (CNREP) was established in January 2003 by the LSU AgCenter to coordinate the activities of resource economists and policy professionals at LSU and other institutions in the southeastern U.S. The center functions as a research and extension cooperative, providing a focal point for social scientists by organizing and marketing their efforts to those agencies seeking the socioeconomic information required to fully evaluate new environmental programs and projects. The mission of CNREP is to foster the interaction of economic, social and policy professionals to address natural resource and environmental problems.

Projects are maintained on a variety of topics related to natural resources; however, the primary research areas of CNREP center on fisheries management and the economics of coastal ecosystem restoration.  CNREP members provide a wide range of technical expertise. These include cost-benefit analysis, bioeconomics, decision support systems, ecocertification, econometrics, economic development, economic impact analysis, environmental policy analysis, and input-output analysis, as well as legal and regulatory analysis, market and non-market valuation, technology transfer and adoption, multicriteria analysis, project feasibility, and quantitative modeling.


Strong partnerships are central to the success of CNREP’s initiatives.  Partners include state and national agencies such as Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wetland Research Center, Sea Grant, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  CNREP also works with private companies, non-profit organizations and research institutes.  Academic partners outside of LSU include Mississippi State University, East Carolina University, University of Missouri, University of Texas-Brownsville, Southern University, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute’s Marine Policy Center.

Regional Initiatives

Every three years, CNREP holds a national conference to coordinate the activities of resource economists and policy professionals working on coastal issues. The CNREP forum is the primary venue in the southern U.S. for coastal researchers to network with social science peers from academia, state and federal agencies, NGOs and the private sector. The CNREP 2013 forum was held March 24-26, 2013 in New Orleans, LA.

Louisiana Initiatives

The center’s activities, funded at $10.1 million over the past 6 years by 43 public and private sources, has led to the emergence of CNREP as a primary source of socioeconomic expertise for state and federal agencies in Louisiana.  A major current initiative of CNREP is the “Economic Assessments of Coastal Restoration in Louisiana,” a series of applied research projects that CNREP cooperators have developed over the last decade.  Past projects included a socioeconomic assessment of Northern Gulf of Mexico fisheries and research on the potential development of a wood-base bioenergy industry in Louisiana.