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Proactive Strategies for Protecting Species

Proactive Strategies for Protecting Species: Pre-Listing Conservation and the Endangered Species Act

EDITED BY C. Josh Donlan
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: 1
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Proactive Strategies for Protecting Species
    Book Description:

    Now forty years old, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) remains a landmark act in conservation and one of the world's most comprehensive laws designed to prevent species extinctions and support recovery efforts for imperiled species. A controversial law and often subject to political attack, the ESA is successful overall but not without difficulties. Those who enforce the ESA, for example, struggle to achieve viable recovery goals for many species.At the forefront of challenges is a reactive framework that sometimes leads to perverse incentives and legal battles that strain support and resources. Further, few species have been delisted.Proactive Strategies for Protecting Speciesexplores the perspectives, opportunities, and challenges around designing and implementing pre-listing programs and approaches to species conservation.This volume brings together conservation biologists, economists, private and government stakeholders, and others to create a legal, scientific, sociological, financial, and technological foundation for designing solutions that incentivize conservation action for hundreds of at-risk species-prior to their potential listing under the ESA.This forward-thinking, innovative volume provides a roadmap for designing species conservation programs on the ground so they are effective and take place upstream of regulation, which will contribute to a reduction in lawsuits and other expenses that arise after a species is listed.Proactive Strategies for Species Protectionis a guidebook for anyone anywhere interested in designing programs that incentivize environmental stewardship and species conservation.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-96049-7
    Subjects: Environmental Science, Economics, Zoology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    Michael J. Bean and Melanie J. Rowland

    The US Endangered Species Act is a final backstop in the effort to prevent the extinction of wild plants and animals. If it fails, then our loss is permanent and irreversible. As the American naturalist Charles William Beebe memorably observed, “The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived, though its first material expression be destroyed, a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living beings breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again.”

    Beebe wrote those words...

  5. Preface
    (pp. xvii-xx)
    C. Josh Donlan

    • CHAPTER 1 An Introduction to Pre-Listing Conservation
      (pp. 3-13)

      From the perspective of species extinction, the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been a success (Male and Bean 2005). Of the over two thousand species protected by the ESA, only ten have gone extinct after listing (Langpap and Kerkvliet 2010; USFWS 2014). Yet the ESA it is not without challenges and failures. For example, only thirty delistings have occurred (covering twenty-five species) declaring a species or population recovered (USFWS 2014a). At the forefront of the challenges facing the ESA is a reactive framework that often leads to perverse incentives and legal battles that strain support and take resources from...

    • CHAPTER 2 A Primer on Species Avoidance, Minimization, and Compensatory Mitigation under the US Endangered Species Act
      (pp. 14-25)

      Green energy has arrived on the island of Maui. In August 2012, more than sixty wide-load trucks traversed the Mokulele Highway with bits and pieces of eight turbines for the Auwahi Wind Farm. This 21-megawatt wind energy project, however, is not without environmental impacts (Stephens 2012). The project site is home to a number of endangered species: the Hawaiian Petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis), the Hawaiian Goose (Branta sandvicensis), the Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus), and the Blackburn’s sphinx moth (Manduca blackburni). The development of the wind farm will result in the degradation of the moth’s habitat and create the potential...

    • CHAPTER 3 Perspective: Endangered Species, the Desert Tortoise, and Job Creation
      (pp. 26-35)

      During the height of fiscal political discussions, Vice President Joe Biden led an effort to identify and eliminate wasteful federal spending. In In doing so, he took a shot at the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii). In a June 2011 message on the White House website titled “There’s a New Sheriff in Town,” Biden stated, “And I bet you didn’t know that your tax dollars pay for a website dedicated to the desert tortoise. I’m sure it’s a wonderful species, but we can’t afford to have a standalone site devoted to every member of the animal kingdom” (Danelski and Goad 2011)....

    • CHAPTER 4 Perspective: Renewable Energy and Endangered Species
      (pp. 36-42)

      The recent emergence of large-scale solar energy projects in the southwestern United States has provided a unique opportunity to help shift the nation’s electricity generation toward low-carbon sources. Today, over 4,000 megawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity is in operation in the United States, with over 500 megawatts installed in the first quarter of 2012 alone (SEIA 2012a). That is enough electricity to power approximately 350 homes for an entire year. This output does not include concentrated solar thermal power, which will surpass 1,300 megawatts in the coming years (SEIA 2012b). The prospect of generating tens of thousands of megawatts of...

    • CHAPTER 5 Perspective: The Challenges and Benefits of Pre-Listing Conservation Approaches to Military Readiness
      (pp. 43-51)

      The US Marine Corps (USMC) is “America’s Expeditionary Force in Readiness” and has a statutory responsibility to be ready to respond to any crisis, at any time, in any place—from humanitarian assistance missions to major combat operations. As such, USMC installations are critical, irreplaceable assets for ensuring military readiness. These installations encompass over 2.3 million acres of land and near-shore areas, which include coastal, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems, that provide the critical infrastructure to support continuous training, from developing individual skills to executing large-scale, live-fire exercises. In addition to providing training and readiness infrastructure, installations provide support to Marines...

    • CHAPTER 6 Perspective: Stewardship over Regulation and Harnessing the Agricultural Sector for Species Conservation
      (pp. 52-60)

      Over the years, ranchers and their practices have evolved with the natural environment because they understand that adaptability equals survivability. Many ranchers know that often it is not themselves but Mother Nature that is in control (figure 6.1). Ranchers have come to embrace the view that when properly cared for the earth’s natural assets will deliver thriving and varied rewards. These rewards can be abundant livestock and crops but also healthy habitats for at-risk species.

      I have the great opportunity to work for some of the most progressive ranchers in the world on initiatives to ensure the health of the...

    • CHAPTER 7 Perspective: Forest Conservation and Private Landowners
      (pp. 61-70)

      The right of private individuals to own and manage land is a core value in the United States. Private property was considered a cornerstone of the US Constitution by its authors for two reasons (Adams 1851). First, stable property rights are a powerful incentive for wealth creation and prosperity, both prerequisites for successful self-government. Second, property rights have long been linked with individual liberty. By helping to preserve the economic independence of individuals, secure private property encourages participation in the political process and willingness to challenge government policy. Viewed in this light, the ownership of property represents personal empowerment (Ely...


    • CHAPTER 8 Pre-Listing Conservation: Law, Policy, and Pilot Projects
      (pp. 73-93)

      Wildlife conservation is generally less expensive and more effective when deployed before species populations reach crisis levels. Yet the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) does not always encourage early conservation. For example, if a land developer finds a rare plant that might become listed under the ESA, he receives no regulatory benefit for protecting the plant now and may even be tempted to remove it to avoid future development restrictions.

      To seek public input on this issue, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on March 15, 2012 (USFWS 2012a). The Advance Notice...

    • CHAPTER 9 A Primer on Biodiversity Measurement Systems
      (pp. 94-104)

      Emerging conservation strategies such as payments for ecosystem services and market-based incentives have spurred the development of tools to better quantify conservation outcomes created by programmatic interventions. Measurement systems attempt to provide clear, reliable, and accurate information about the quality and quantity of a particular species’ populations or ecosystem service on which payments and markets rely. Here we provide a brief primer on measurement systems for biodiversity, including but not limited to at-risk species and ecosystems. Biodiversity quality and quantity can be communicated as units of either (1) biodiversity benefits generated by additional actions taken on the land to protect...

    • CHAPTER 10 A Landowner-Centered Approach to Incentivizing Participation in Pre-Listing Conservation Programs
      (pp. 105-114)

      The first thirty years of US Endangered Species Act (ESA) implementation have revealed the constraints and unintended consequences of the law’s approach to endangered species recovery. Funding problems, enforcement issues, an overreliance on biologists to solve social conflicts, a command-and-control approach to implementation, and a bureaucratic structure that precludes organizational learning and adaptability have all led to a policy that is ineffective at incentivizing conservation actions on private lands (Kellert 1994; Clark 1997; Bean 1998; Norris 2004; Murchison 2007). Further, past conflict related to endangered species and private lands in the United States has created a social memory whereby private...

    • CHAPTER 11 Market Models and Finance for Upstream Species Conservation
      (pp. 115-130)

      A pre-listing conservation (PLC) program structured around market principles offers federal and nonfederal project developers an efficient and cost-effective solution to managing their environmental risk regarding at-risk species (e.g., candidate species under the US Endangered Species Act [ESA]) by allowing them to preemptively purchase conservation outcomes. Those outcomes would be based on some metric that allows for the demonstration of a net conservation benefit and would be represented in a distinct unit such as a species or habitat credit (Cochran and Maness this volume). In exchange for project developers mitigating their future environmental impacts in advance, the US Fish and...

    • CHAPTER 12 Tools to Promote Transparent and Efficient Markets for Species Conservation
      (pp. 131-140)

      Markets rely on transparency to sustain participant confidence. This relationship plays a major role in financial markets, where the availability of information is critical for buyers and sellers and drives risk tolerance, investment decisions, demand, and, ultimately, asset values. Market transparency means ensuring that accurate, up-to-date information about a market is readily available. When the voluntary carbon markets emerged in the mid-2000s, they lacked transparency and confidence due partly to the absence of carbon off set standards and registries. When registries began providing transparency to the marketplace and participants adopted various industry standards, the market grew dramatically due to increased...

    • CHAPTER 13 The Role of Electronic Marketplaces in Scaling Environmental Markets
      (pp. 141-146)

      Over the past decade environmental markets have grown exponentially (Madsen et al. 2010; World Bank 2011). Markets focused on carbon and water have been leading the way; the carbon market, for example, was valued at $142 billion in 2010 (World Bank 2011). Markets focused explicitly on biodiversity have lagged behind other environmental markets but continue to grow and expand under both regulatory and voluntary frameworks (Madsen et al. 2010; Bull et al. 2013). In 2010, a minimum of $3 billion to $4 billion in transactions took place in programs related to biodiversity off sets (Madsen et al. 2011).

      Businesses are...


    • CHAPTER 14 Prospects for Pre-Listing Conservation Approaches in Freshwater Ecosystems
      (pp. 149-166)

      Impaired water quality and altered flow patterns threaten freshwater biodiversity by degrading habitat and reducing native populations (Baron et al. 2002; Richter and Thomas 2007; Strayer and Dudgeon 2010; Carpenter et al. 2011). While the long history of human modification of inland waters shapes our perception of the severity and scale of ongoing damage (Wohl 2005; Doyle and Shields 2012), many aquatic species depend on habitat and flow conditions that conflict with societal expectations for irrigation, transportation, and flood control (e.g., easily navigable channels and predictable water supply). Consequently, species that rely on freshwater ecosystems face a host of impacts...

    • CHAPTER 15 The Greater Sage-Grouse, Energy Development, and Pre-Listing Conservation
      (pp. 167-187)

      Populations of the Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus;hereafter Sage-Grouse) once occurred across thirteen US states and three Canadian provinces in western North America (figure 15.1). They have declined to nearly half their historical range due to land use changes that have reduced and degraded sagebrush (Artemisiaspp.) ecosystems (Schroeder et al. 2004) (figure 15.2). Often considered an icon of the American West, the Sage-Grouse is viewed as a surrogate for the over 350 other species that depend on sagebrush for their existence, including many endemic and at-risk species (Suring et al. 2005; Knick and Connelly 2011). In 2010, the US...

    • CHAPTER 16 The Gopher Tortoise, Military Readiness, and Pre-Listing Conservation
      (pp. 188-218)

      Before European settlement, longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) forests spanned 90 million acres in the United States, stretching from Virginia south to Florida and west to eastern Texas. Frequent low-intensity fires that occurred throughout the Southeast defined the historical distribution of these forests (Finch et al. 2012). In the late nineteenth century, these expansive stands were among the most sought after timber and resin trees in the country. But due to land conversion, agriculture, invasive species, and fire suppression, only 3 million to 4 million acres of longleaf pine forest remain today. Many species that depend on these forests, including the...

    • CHAPTER 17 The Future of Pre-Listing Conservation Programs for Wildlife Conservation
      (pp. 219-230)

      Around the world, success in environmental conservation depends in some part on actions in two overlapping spheres of policy: policies that prevent further environmental damage from occurring and those that promote proactive measures to improve environmental conditions. Laws like the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) are strongest at preventing additional harm from occurring. In contrast, the ESA and most other biodiversity laws around the globe offer few mandates that incentivize stewardship investments. This policy gap is important and will likely gain greater importance in the coming decades, for several reasons. First, today many of the world’s species are conservation-reliant: the...

  9. References
    (pp. 231-256)
  10. Index
    (pp. 257-260)