Abstract: In the United States, voluntary incentive programs that aid conservation of plant and wildlife species on private lands provide a structural solution to the problem of protecting endangered species by reducing costs and enhancing benefits to landowners. We explored the potential for incentives to encourage landowners to manage land cover for the benefit of endangered songbirds in central Texas (U.S.A.) by asking landowners to indicate their preferences for financial incentives, technical assistance, and regulatory assurances. We identified owners of potential songbird habitat and collected data in face‐to‐face interviews and self‐administered questionnaires. We used a latent‐class stated‐choice model to identify 3 classes of landowners whose choices varied on the basis of their attitudes and perceived social norms: (1) strong positive attitude, perceived social pressure to participate, and willing to participate with relatively few incentives, (2) weak positive attitude, perceived no social pressure to participate, and required strongest incentives, and (3) negative attitude, perceived social pressure not to enroll, and unwilling to participate regardless of incentive structure. Given this heterogeneity in preferences, conservation incentives may increase management of land cover to benefit endangered species on private lands to some degree; however, exclusive reliance on incentives may be insufficient. Promoting conservation on private lands may be enhanced by integrating incentives into an approach that incorporates other strategies for conservation, including social networks and collaborative processes that reinforce social norms.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 2011
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