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Abstract

A quarter of all species around the globe are threatened with extinction; this article reviews research in economics on how best to counter those threats. Normative research has developed useful tools for cost-effectively choosing areas of habitat to protect. Such work has also designed working-lands contracts that can induce efficient quantities and patterns of conservation on private lands. Positive research finds evidence that payments for ecosystem service programs are effective, but legal protections for threatened species have a mixed record of success. Economists have also measured both the nonmarket benefits and the costs of species conservation. Emerging work is tackling the particular challenges to species conservation posed by climate change, the demand for exploiting charismatic megafauna, and global population growth. Future research would do well to build on those three areas and to study distributional issues in the benefits and costs of species conservation.

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2018-10-05
2024-06-24
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