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Abstract

Using agricultural preservation priorities derived from an analytical hierarchy process by 23 conservation experts from 18 agencies in the state of Delaware, this research uses weighted benefit measures to evaluate the historical success of Delaware’s agricultural protection fund, which spent nearly $100 million in its first decade. This research demonstrates how these operation research techniques can be used in concert to address relevant conservation questions. Results suggest that the state’s sealed-bid-offer auction, which determines the yearly conservation selections, is superior to benefit-targeting approaches frequently employed by conservation organizations, but is inferior to the optimization technique of binary linear programming that could have provided additional benefits to the state, such as 12,000 additional acres worth an estimated $25 million.

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