Evaluating conservation spending for species return: A retrospective analysis in California
Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
©2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 2, Issue 3, pages 130–137, June 2009
How to Cite
Underwood, E. C., Klausmeyer, K. R., Morrison, S. A., Bode, M. and Shaw, M. R. (2009), Evaluating conservation spending for species return: A retrospective analysis in California. Conservation Letters, 2: 130–137. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2008.00018.x
- Issue published online: 3 JUN 2009
- Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
- Received: 10 May 2008; accepted 13 May 2008.
- Species protection;
- conservation planning;
- priority setting;
- resource allocation
Conservation spending in California, USA exceeds conservation expenditures in many countries. To date, there has been no objective method to assess the efficiency of such spending for achieving species conservation outcomes. We conducted the first such retrospective analysis of conservation spending, examining the distribution of $2.8 billion spent on land protection by the state of California and partners from 1990 to 2006. Using a return on investment algorithm with species protection as the sole objective, we describe a “cost-efficient” funding scenario that would have protected four times more distinct species and three times more threatened and endangered species compared to the observed allocation. Differences between the species-diversity spending and the observed spending patterns reflect the myriad funding objectives, beyond protecting species, of the state. Identifying cost-effective conservation strategies are essential given the need to maintain species diversity in the face of global change.