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Cost Effective Conservation Planning: Twenty Lessons from Economics

  • Joshua M.Duke

    ()

    (Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Delaware)

  • Steven J. Dundas

    (Department of Economics, North Carolina State University)

  • Kent D. Messer

    ()

    (Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Delaware)

Economists advocate that the billions of public dollars spent on conservation should be allocated to achieve the largest possible social benefit. This is what we term “cost-effective conservation”-- a process that incorporates both benefits and costs that are measured with money. This controversial proposition has been poorly understood and not implemented by conservation planners. Drawing from evidence from the largest conservation programs in the United States, this paper seeks to improve the communication between economists and planners and overcome resistance to cost-effective conservation by addressing the open questions that likely drive skepticism among non-economists and by identifying best practices for project selection. We first delineate project-selection strategies and compare them to optimization. Then we synthesize the body of established research findings from economics into 20 practical lessons. Based on theory, policy considerations, and empirical evidence, these lessons illustrate the potential gains from improving practices related to cost-effective selection and also address how to overcome landowner-incentive challenges that face programs.

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File URL: http://graduate.lerner.udel.edu/sites/default/files/ECON/PDFs/RePEc/dlw/WorkingPapers/2012/UD-WP-2012-01.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Delaware, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 12-01.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dlw:wpaper:12-01.
Contact details of provider: Postal: Purnell Hall, Newark, Delaware 19716
Phone: (302) 831-2565
Fax: (302) 831-6968
Web page: http://www.lerner.udel.edu/departments/economics/department-economics/
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