Cost Savings From Properly Managing Endangered Species Habitats

EPA Grant Number: U915586
Title: Cost Savings From Properly Managing Endangered Species Habitats
Investigators: Chen, Linus Y-S.
Institution: Yale University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: September 1, 1999 through May 1, 2000
Project Amount: $63,750
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Environmental Justice , Fellowship - Environmental


The objective of this research project is to determine the magnitude of the deferred management debt for endangered species. Necessary active habitat management for many endangered species has been deferred or neglected, specifically for imperiled species threatened by invasive, exotic species and fire suppression. These results will be used to show that deferred management will lead to more expensive habitat management, and that endangered species recovery will likely fail.


A survey of management costs for federally listed species threatened by invasive, exotic species, and the absence of fire in fire adapted habitats, was sent to individuals knowledgeable in habitat management needs for imperiled species. The survey asked the individual to compare the cost differences between initial "restoration" control, and subsequent maintenance after the threat has been "controlled." The survey also asked the respondent to compare "rerestoration" costs if necessary management is deferred after the threat was "controlled," and the number of years of deferred management that would lead to a species' extirpation.

A ratio was first determined from the costs of initial restoration compared to minimal maintenance. Second, the cost of continued management was compared to the cost of conducting deferred management for a project. The accumulated cost of continued management was then subtracted from the cost of deferred management for the same time period; the time period used was the time when maintenance costs increased to the deferred maintenance costs. Cost figures were discretely discounted at a 0- and 6-percent rate.

Expected Results:

Analysis of provided cost estimates (in 45 cases obtained from contacting more than 270 scientists and wildlife managers) indicates that the initial control costs are approximately 1.8 to 350 times greater than the maintenance costs. Without continued maintenance, future costs may triple, depending on the threat. In many cases, after initial restoration, continued control is more cost-effective than neglect followed by rerestoration of the habitat. In some cases, neglect followed by rerestoration may be cost-effective, but the neglect may lead to the species' extirpation. After initial restoration, continued active management on both public and private lands will allow for the attainment of minimal maintenance costs and the realization of cost savings.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, habitat management costs, invasive species, fire suppression, endangered species., RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, Economics, decision-making, Ecology and Ecosystems, Economics & Decision Making, Habitat Conservation Plan, deferred management debt, economic benefits, environmental decision making, cost-effective ecosystem protection, cost benefit, changing environmental conditions, endangered species habitat

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final