America's Renewable Resources: Historical Trends and Current Challenges

By Kenneth D. Frederick; Roger A. Sedjo | Go to book overview

ment by users to landowners for access, or payments from government units to landowners in exchange for adopting measures to enhance habitat and make it available to others. The Farm Act of 1985, for example, contains several provisions that may indirectly benefit wildlife. The most important of these is the Conservation Reserve, designed to remove the most erodible land from crop production. If successful, the Conservation Reserve is projected eventually to return 40 million to 45 million acres of vulnerable cropland to grassland and forest. Additional wildlife benefits may result from the "sodbuster" and "swampbuster" provisions (see chapter 5), which deny agricultural subsidies to farms that convert wetlands and highly erodible land to croplands.

In addition, nearly half the states now have programs to encourage wildlife habitat and public access to it on private land. State initiatives run the gamut from liability limitations to purchase of development rights to direct cash subsidies. Despite the enormous variety, these programs all have one thing in common: they attempt to give private landowners an incentive to provide wildlife services. Whether the incentives provided are appropriate to the purpose or sufficient to achieve it is stiff to be determined.

These state provisions might best be regarded as experiments in wildlife policy. If successful, they offer the prospect of allowing landowners to treat wildlife resources comparably with other products of the land. Private incentives may be the best hope of simultaneously protecting wildlife habitat while also preserving public access to wildlife resources.


Notes

The outstanding research assistance of Caroline Harnett and Sari Radin is gratefully acknowledged.

1.
If the actual trends in bird populations were stable, then the expected number of statistically significant observations of increasing trends, on the basis of chance alone, is 25 (at a 5-percent level of significance). The standard deviation on the number of increasing trends is about 5.1. Likewise, another 25 in expectation would show a significant decreasing trend, with standard deviation also of 5. 1. Because the number of observations of significantly increasing (decreasing) trends is 8 (4) standard deviations more than what would have been observed by chance, it can be concluded that there truly are some species enjoying increasing trends, and some suffering decreasing ones.
2.
The 1978 amendments mandated use of this procedure (which involved review of the case by an Endangered Species Committee of high-ranking officials of the federal government and the governments of the states involved) in two cases, one of which was the Tellico Dam case. In this case the committee ruled against allowing an exemption, largely on the basis of a benefit-cost analysis that could not find an economic justification for the dam's completion even though most of the costs were already incurred. Congress subsequently overrode this decision by enacting legislation authorizing the construction of the Tellico Dam specifically. The final chapter of the Tellico story came several years later, when snail darter populations were found on stream reaches other than that affected by the Tellico Dam.

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America's Renewable Resources: Historical Trends and Current Challenges
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Esources for the Future v
  • Contents vii
  • Tables x
  • Figures xi
  • Preface xiii
  • 1: Overview: Renewable Resource Trends 1
  • References 21
  • 2: Water Resources: Increasing Demand and Scarce Supplies 23
  • Notes 71
  • Appendix 2 72
  • References 75
  • 3: Forest Resources: Resilient and Serviceable 81
  • Notes 115
  • Appendix 116
  • References 118
  • 4: Rangeland Resources: Changing Uses and Productivity 123
  • Notes 161
  • Appendix 4 162
  • References 163
  • 5: Cropland and Soils: Past Performance and Policy Challenges 169
  • References 203
  • 6: Wildlife: Severe Decline and Partial Recovery 205
  • Notes 241
  • Appendix 6 242
  • References 245
  • 7: The Growing Role of Outdoor Recreation 249
  • Notes 279
  • Appendix 280
  • References 281
  • About the Authors 283
  • Photo Credits 284
  • Index 285
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