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Abstract

It has been argued that the traditional regulatory approach of the Endangered Species Act, based on land-use restrictions, has failed to protect endangered species on private land. In response, there has been a call for the use of incentives to complement this regulatory approach. This paper examines the potential of incentives programs to elicit conservation-oriented management choices from landowners. Data obtained from a survey of non-industrial private forest owners in Oregon and Washington is used to examine the effectiveness of various incentives. 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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