Incentive-based approach to endangered species protection worth a shot in Canada

Canada and the provinces and territories should experiment with market incentive-based approaches towards endangered species protection, such as candidate conservation banking, rather than focus on punitive approaches.
Published on May 29, 2013

The U.S. Endangered Species Act is much like Canada’s legislation in that it is based on penalties.

As mentioned before, most Canadian provinces and territories do not even provide compensation to land owners who are directly affected by an endangered species designation.

The Montana-based Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) has presented some incentive-based systems to help preserve endangered species while respecting individual property owners.

“Candidate conservation banking” is an incentive-based system aiming to balance the two.

PERC describes it this way:

“Under this model, private landowners who voluntarily conserve habitat on their property receive “credits” — a unit of trade that places monetary value on conservation measures — that can be sold in the marketplace. The number of credits on a parcel of land is determined via a science-based method to ensure a net conservation benefit for the animal when used as offsets by buyers for future impacts, such as removing ground cover or accidentally crushing a tortoise while installing a solar power plant. In exchange for alleviating potential impacts, buyers would receive regulatory predictability from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service if the species becomes officially “threatened” or “endangered.” Indeed, the Fish and Wildlife Service issued a notice of proposed rule-making to support such assurances.”

The Canadian government and the various provinces and territories should emulate this plan. And then, it can be evaluated for its effectiveness.


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