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Species at Risk

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    Species at Risk
    Book Description:

    Protecting endangered species of animals and plants is a goal that almost everyone supports in principle-but in practice private landowners have often opposed the regulations of the Endangered Species Act, which, they argue, unfairly limits their right to profit from their property. To encourage private landowners to cooperate voluntarily in species conservation and to mitigate the economic burden of doing so, the government and nonprofit land trusts have created a number of incentive programs, including conservation easements, leases, habitat banking, habitat conservation planning, safe harbors, candidate conservation agreements, and the "no surprise" policy.

    In this book, lawyers, economists, political scientists, historians, and zoologists come together to assess the challenges and opportunities for using economic incentives as compensation for protecting species at risk on private property. They examine current programs to see how well they are working and also offer ideas for how these programs could be more successful. Their ultimate goal is to better understand how economic incentive schemes can be made both more cost-effective and more socially acceptable, while respecting a wide range of views regarding opportunity costs, legal standing, biological effectiveness, moral appropriateness, and social context.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79716-1
    Subjects: Environmental Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-xii)

    Once a species has disappeared from the face of the earth, it doesn’t come back. Extinction is irrevocable. This indisputable fact adds importance and urgency to the work that Jason Shogren and colleagues undertake inSpecies at Risk: Using Economic Incentives to Shelter Endangered Species on Private Lands. Correctly designed market incentives can provide us with an efficient and effective set of tools to relieve and redirect pressures that are leading to the extinction or endangerment of species. By extension these same tools can enhance the habitat and natural resource base on which the country’s social, economic, and environmental vitality...

  4. CHAPTER 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-22)

    A sunflower named the desert yellowhead (Yermo xanthocephalus) is known to live on fifty acres in Fremont County, Wyoming. This rare perennial flower is a species at risk from both natural and human-caused disturbances. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced in the spring of 2002 that it would list the desert yellowhead as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973. A threatened species like the desert yellowhead is one feared to become endangered from future pressures of human activity. The ESA codifies the idea that species have “ecological, educational, historical, recreational and scientific value”...

  5. PART I. Current and Proposed Incentive Options for Species Protection on Private Lands

    • CHAPTER 2 The Endangered Species Act and Its Current Set of Incentive Tools for Species Protection
      (pp. 25-64)

      The purposes of the Endangered Species Act, or ESA, are to “provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved,” to establish a “program for the conservation of such” species, and to take action to accomplish the goals of certain international agreements (Endangered Species Act 1996).

      The act contains four key requirements designed to achieve its purposes. First, the secretary of the interior is directed to list species in need of protection. Second, federal agencies must conserve the populations and habitats of listed species and may not take any action that would...

    • CHAPTER 3 An Economic Review of Incentive Mechanisms to Protect Species on Private Lands
      (pp. 65-128)

      Most economists believe that economic incentives help guide human behavior, even when dealing with nonmarket goods like endangered species and biodiversity. Endangered species inhabiting private land can be better protected if economic incentives encourage landowners to preserve their property. Currently, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides some regulatory incentive for landowners to cooperate with species conservation policy through habitat conservation plans (plans that allow a landowner to alter habitat under certain management restrictions), but current financial incentives may induce landowners to prevent government biologists from looking for listed species on private property, or to destroy habitat for listed species, or...

  6. PART II. Challenges to Using Economic Incentives for Species Protection

    • CHAPTER 4 Endangered Species Protection and Ways of Life: Beyond Economy and Ecology
      (pp. 131-146)

      The possibility of offering financial incentives to encourage landowners to protect endangered species on private property raises questions about how economic and ecological well-being can be connected in environmental policy. These questions are not new. Roughly 70 years ago, Aldo Leopold set down his ideas on this matter in “A Conservation Ethic” (an early version of his more famous “Land Ethic” essay). Using the wildlife conservation movement as an example, Leopold suggested, “At the inception of the movement fifty years ago, its underlying thesis was to save species from extermination. The means to this end were a series of restrictive...

    • CHAPTER 5 A Critical Examination of Economic Incentives to Promote Conservation
      (pp. 147-172)

      The ESA undoubtedly can be made more effective in achieving its conservation and recovery goals, and the use of incentives would assuredly encourage greater and more willing landowner efforts to that end. However, many observers, including this author, do not believe that an incentives-based approach would solve all of our habitat ills. An imperiled species conservation program should be multifaceted, and a strategy that depends too heavily on monetary incentives has at least four shortcomings:

      Finite funds (in both government and private coffers), and a seemingly infinite array of good causes on which to spend them, will always limit the...

    • CHAPTER 6 Appraising the Conservation Value of Private Lands
      (pp. 173-190)

      The conservation of scarce biological resources on private lands commonly involves the biological and market valuation of the resources in ways that identify targets for conservation and facilitate negotiations between property owners and potential buyers. For our purposes, a buyer can include any individual or institution with an interest in conservation, the “conservator” of Parkhurst and Shogren (chapter 3). The problem of estimating the values of biological resources and the benefits of conserving them are complex and cross disciplinary boundaries between science, policy, and economics. Our goal is to help create markets for the conservation values of species and habitats...

    • CHAPTER 7 Markets for Conserving Biodiversity Habitat: Principles and Practice
      (pp. 191-216)

      As residential, commercial, and industrial developments continue to erode the integrity of natural areas, public interest in interactions between ecological and economic systems has intensified. This interest registers in frequently contentious debates about the validity of goals to preserve natural areas and the efficiency and the equity properties of the means to do so. Arguably this same public has denied the goals of environmental protection more frequently than necessary because regulatory authorities have used unnecessarily costly means of implementation.¹

      The devices used to implement the goals of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) seem a prime example of those means of...

    • CHAPTER 8 The Role of Private Information in Designing Conservation Incentives for Property Owners
      (pp. 217-232)

      Most people interested in protecting endangered species would agree that imperfect information about population biology and the role of species in ecosystems confounds the design of preservation policy. In like manner, imperfect information about economic behavior and preferences further complicates preservation policy design and implementation. For instance, a private landowner might be the only individual who knows a listed species is on his or her land. In such a case the government would need landowner cooperation to gain the information necessary to administer conservation policy. If, however, regulation leads to an unattractive economic outcome, the landowner will likely withhold the...

  7. PART III. Economic Incentives for ESA Reauthorization

    • CHAPTER 9 Evaluating the Incentive Tools
      (pp. 235-256)

      A U.S. senator once said in private conversation that “if we pay landowners to grow endangered species, we will have more critters than we know what to do with.” The question is how to do this in the most cost-effective manner such that biological needs are met, landowner concerns are addressed, and government budgets are solvent. We have presented the practical pros and cons of each incentive mechanism in Chapter 3, and the other authors have raised numerous concerns about these methods in the chapters following it. We conclude by evaluating each economic incentive based on three broad criteria that...

  8. About the Authors
    (pp. 257-258)
  9. Index
    (pp. 259-272)