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Effectiveness and cost effectiveness of Yellow-Eyed Penguin conservation measures

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  • Busch, Jonah
  • Cullen, Ross

Abstract

Although an estimated US$6 billion is invested annually in our planet’s biological diversity, little research has been conducted on which conservation treatments work best or provide best value for money. Conserving biodiversity efficiently depends on identifying conservation treatments which provide greatest return on investment. Where controlled experiments are not possible, panel econometric techniques can be used to determine the effectiveness of conservation treatments. A long-running Yellow-Eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) nest count in New Zealand presents a golden opportunity to compare the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of three commonly used conservation treatments—trapping of introduced predators, revegetation, and intensive management. Following ecological theory, we specify a density-dependent population growth rate. We control for year effects and site characteristics such as land cover, slope, and elevation. We confront the possibility of selection bias in treatment with site fixed effects and with an instrumental variable based on site accessibility. Of the three treatments analyzed, only intensive management is significantly correlated with increases in site-level penguin population growth rate. We estimate the marginal cost of providing yellow-eyed penguins through intensive management to be NZ$68,600 per nest.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society in its series 2008 Conference (52nd), February 5-8, 2008, Canberra, Australia with number 6012.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aare08:6012

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Keywords: Environmental Economics and Policy;

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  1. Ferraro, Paul J. & McIntosh, Craig & Ospina, Monica, 2007. "The effectiveness of the US endangered species act: An econometric analysis using matching methods," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 245-261, November.
  2. Cullen, Ross & Moran, Emma & Hughey, Kenneth F.D., 2005. "Measuring the success and cost effectiveness of New Zealand multiple-species projects to the conservation of threatened species," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 311-323, May.
  3. Shwiff, Stephanie A. & Sterner, Ray T. & Turman, John W. & Foster, Brian D., 2005. "Ex post economic analysis of reproduction-monitoring and predator-removal variables associated with protection of the endangered California least tern," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 277-287, April.
  4. Tisdell, Clement A., 2007. "The Economic Importance of Wildlife Conservation on the Otago Peninsula - 20 years on," Economics, Ecology and Environment Working Papers 55103, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
  5. Engeman, Richard M. & Shwiff, Stephanie A. & Constantin, Bernice & Stahl, Margo & Smith, Henry T., 2002. "An economic analysis of predator removal approaches for protecting marine turtle nests at Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 469-478, September.
  6. Cullen, Ross & Fairburn, Geoffrey A. & Hughey, Kenneth F. D., 2001. "Measuring the productivity of threatened-species programs," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 53-66, October.
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