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Private landowner interest in market-based incentive programs for endangered species habitat conservation

Authors

  • Shari L. Rodriguez,

    Corresponding author
    1. Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology Program, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
    • Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology Program, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
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  • M. Nils Peterson,

    1. Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology Program, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
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  • Frederick W. Cubbage,

    1. Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
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  • Erin O. Sills,

    1. Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
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  • Howard D. Bondell

    1. Department of Statistics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
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  • Associate Editor: Grado

Abstract

More than 75% of endangered species in the United States rely on private lands for habitat. Although this habitat has long been regulated under the Endangered Species Act, there is now broad agreement that economic incentives are also needed for effective protection on private land. Many different mechanisms for incentive programs have been proposed and tested. For example, recovery credit systems use term-duration market-based contracts to engage landowners in endangered species conservation. We examined how market-mechanism design influences interest in endangered species habitat conservation using a survey of North Carolina Farm Bureau county advisory board members in 93 of the 100 North Carolina counties (n = 735) in 2009. Respondents preferred contracts (57% were interested) over easements (39% were interested). Endangered species conservation ranked low in importance relative to other conservation issues, but 45% of respondents were interested in contracts to conserve endangered species habitat on their property. The preferred contract duration was 10 years, and respondents preferred state- and agricultural-related organizations over federal and wildlife conservation-related organizations for managing contracts. Younger respondents, respondents who had previously participated in conservation programs, respondents who perceived endangered species conservation as important, and respondents who had lower property-rights orientation scores, were most likely to be interested in contracts to restore and maintain endangered species habitat on their lands. Our results suggest that market mechanisms could drive down costs and drive up durations for endangered species habitat conservation contracts. Further, term contracts may prove critical for endangered species conservation efforts that require high levels of landowner support and spatial flexibility within relatively short-time frames. © 2012 The Wildlife Society.

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