Modeling conservation incentives for private landowners Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/xs55mg028

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  • This dissertation consists of three papers on the use of incentives for conservation of endangered species on private land. The first paper examines incentives based on providing landowners with assurances regarding future regulation in exchange for their participation in a conservation agreement. The second and third papers are empirical analyses of landowners' decisions to participate in an incentives program, and of the effect of different types of incentives on the level of conservation effort provided by landowners. The first paper examines when a landowner and a regulator reach a voluntary conservation agreement, and what level of conservation the agreement generates in the presence of uncertainty about future conservation benefits and irreversibility of habitat loss and species extinction. The results suggest that the likelihood of an agreement and the resulting conservation levels depend on the background threat of regulation, the cost advantage offered by voluntary agreements, and the availability of assurances regarding future regulation. In practice, conservation agreements that offer assurances may generate higher levels of conservation and higher net social benefits than agreements that do not offer assurances. However, the resulting level of conservation will not be optimal, and may be lower than that attainable under regulation. The second paper conducts an empirical analysis of the demographic and land characteristics that determine landowner participation in incentives programs using data obtained from a survey of non-industrial private forest owners in Oregon and Washington. The results suggest that targeting incentives programs to younger landowners who have acquired their property more recently, own more woodland, and are interested in conservation and providing wildlife habitat on their forests may be effective in attaining higher participation rates. The third paper uses the data obtained from the survey to examine the potential of incentives programs to elicit conservation-oriented management choices from landowners. The results indicate that incentives, in particular compensation and assurances, can be effective in increasing the conservation effort provided by landowners. The results also suggest that conservation policy for private lands could be improved by relying on a combination of incentives, including financial incentives and assurances, rather than exclusively on the threat of regulation.
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