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. 2015 Oct;71(4):817-46.
doi: 10.1007/s00285-014-0840-5. Epub 2014 Oct 14.

Bioeconomic Analysis Supports the Endangered Species Act

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Bioeconomic Analysis Supports the Endangered Species Act

Kehinde R Salau et al. J Math Biol. .

Abstract

The United States Endangered Species Act (ESA) was enacted to protect and restore declining fish, wildlife, and plant populations. The ESA mandates endangered species protection irrespective of costs. This translates to the restriction of activities that harm endangered populations. We discuss criticisms of the ESA in the context of public land management and examine under what circumstance banning non-conservation activity on multiple use federal lands can be socially optimal. We develop a bioeconomic model to frame the species management problem under the ESA and identify scenarios where ESA-imposed regulations emerge as optimal strategies. Results suggest that banning harmful activities is a preferred strategy when valued endangered species are in decline or exposed to poor habitat quality. However, it is not optimal to sustain such a strategy in perpetuity. An optimal plan involves a switch to land-use practices characteristic of habitat conservation plans.

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