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