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Identifying the impacts of critical habitat designation on land cover change

Nelson, Erik J. LU ; Withey, John C.; Pennington, Derric and Lawler, Joshua J. (2017) In Resource and Energy Economics 47. p.89-125
Abstract

The US Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulates what landowners, land managers, and industry can do on lands occupied by listed species. The ESA does this in part by requiring the designation of habitat within each listed species’ range considered critical to their recovery. Critics have argued that critical habitat (CH) designation creates significant economic costs while contributing little to species recovery. Here we examine the effects of CH designation on land cover change. We find that the rate of change from 1992 to 2011 in developed (urban and residential) and agricultural land in CH areas was not significantly different compared to similar lands without CH designation, but still subject to ESA regulations. Although CH... (More)

The US Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulates what landowners, land managers, and industry can do on lands occupied by listed species. The ESA does this in part by requiring the designation of habitat within each listed species’ range considered critical to their recovery. Critics have argued that critical habitat (CH) designation creates significant economic costs while contributing little to species recovery. Here we examine the effects of CH designation on land cover change. We find that the rate of change from 1992 to 2011 in developed (urban and residential) and agricultural land in CH areas was not significantly different compared to similar lands without CH designation, but still subject to ESA regulations. Although CH designation on average does not affect overall rates of land cover change, CH designation did slightly modify the impact of land cover change drivers. Generally, variation in land prices played a larger role in land cover decisions within CH areas than in similar areas without CH designation. These trends suggest that developers may require a greater than typical expected return to development in CH areas to compensate for the higher risk of regulatory scrutiny. Ultimately, our results bring into question the very rationale for the CH regulation. If it is for the most part not affecting land cover choices, is CH helping species recover?

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Critical habitat, Endangered Species Act, Land cover change, Matching analysis, Opportunity cost
in
Resource and Energy Economics
volume
47
pages
37 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85007473651
  • wos:000393010300006
ISSN
0928-7655
DOI
10.1016/j.reseneeco.2016.12.002
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
d464638d-a330-4fe1-9440-95c2b60a5333
date added to LUP
2017-02-06 09:05:32
date last changed
2018-01-07 11:48:30
@article{d464638d-a330-4fe1-9440-95c2b60a5333,
  abstract     = {<p>The US Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulates what landowners, land managers, and industry can do on lands occupied by listed species. The ESA does this in part by requiring the designation of habitat within each listed species’ range considered critical to their recovery. Critics have argued that critical habitat (CH) designation creates significant economic costs while contributing little to species recovery. Here we examine the effects of CH designation on land cover change. We find that the rate of change from 1992 to 2011 in developed (urban and residential) and agricultural land in CH areas was not significantly different compared to similar lands without CH designation, but still subject to ESA regulations. Although CH designation on average does not affect overall rates of land cover change, CH designation did slightly modify the impact of land cover change drivers. Generally, variation in land prices played a larger role in land cover decisions within CH areas than in similar areas without CH designation. These trends suggest that developers may require a greater than typical expected return to development in CH areas to compensate for the higher risk of regulatory scrutiny. Ultimately, our results bring into question the very rationale for the CH regulation. If it is for the most part not affecting land cover choices, is CH helping species recover?</p>},
  author       = {Nelson, Erik J. and Withey, John C. and Pennington, Derric and Lawler, Joshua J.},
  issn         = {0928-7655},
  keyword      = {Critical habitat,Endangered Species Act,Land cover change,Matching analysis,Opportunity cost},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {02},
  pages        = {89--125},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Resource and Energy Economics},
  title        = {Identifying the impacts of critical habitat designation on land cover change},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.reseneeco.2016.12.002},
  volume       = {47},
  year         = {2017},
}