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Policies of Protection

Local Policies

It's difficult to protect the habitats that are homes to great biodiversity when the local populace has relied on the habitat and its resources for their livelihood. Many of these countries that are host to great biodiversity- Brazil, Congo, China- also have substantial economic problems related to poverty and development along with environmental degradation issues. These nations have had 'perverse incentives' for their citizens to over-exploit the natural environment. These bad incentives need to be eliminated before any beneficial incentives and harsh disincentives can be instituted to reward beneficial behavior and to punish non-compliance with the regulation.

Another policy avenue that has shown some success, particularly in places like Kenya, is to encourage eco-tourism. This environmentally friendly form of tourism serves to boost the economy while simultaneously leaving a small footprint on the habitat and providing a source of revenue for protecting habitats and expanding the amount of protected land.

National Policies

The United States formally started its preservation biodiversity with 1973's Endangered Species Act (ESA) . Under this law, the government identifies species at risk of extinction and labels them either as threatened if they're close to extinction, or endangered if they're dangerously close. It then identifies their habitats, bans all activity that would harm these habitats, and develops & puts into place a plan for recovery. Finally, if successful they remove the species from the endangered or threatened list. This program makes no mention of costs of protecting the habitats or the benefits from such. There is some studies that show by merely listing a species, the government might do to hurt than to help the species chances. It has been shown that listing under the ESA without funding backing up can serve just to encourage landowners to preemptively eliminate threatened species on their property (Ferraro) .

In contrast, in the United Kingdom of Britain they actually compensate landowners for the loss entailed in not using their land in a way that would endanger the threatened species. This eliminates the perverse incentive' for landowners to utilize their land to the point of destruction before the resident species is listed or found on their property. This incentive is, unfortunately, still present in the U.S. Britain also has a broader species and habitat protection plan that also has to capability to compensate people for their lost profits. This program is voluntary, which sounds like it would attract people who are willing to go over and beyond the mandatory requirements of species protection. It can bring those who would only selfishly benefit from such a program though, which limits the programs effectiveness.

International Policies

In 1972 a global agreement was reached at the International Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to protect biodiversity among the signers of the pact. CITES is the official body that designates species as endangered or threatened. It does this by either listing the species in question in Appendix II or Appendix I. Appendix II is for threatened species and doesn't mandate as strict trade restrictions as Appendix I does. Appendix I is for endangered species and by listing a species, CITES largely bans commercial trading of it.There is a vigorous debate going on whether listing actually helps or hurts chances of the species, as listing on Appendix I can just create a black market for poachers to profit from and Appendix II provides for some legal trading.

Another major international agreement was brokered at the 1992 Rio Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), though its precepts have been proven to be to overly broad to be practically implemented. These unenforceable
good intentions have been compounded by a lack of funding from the all participants. 

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All of the above come from the previously acknowledged Hanley source, except for the last 3 sentences of the 1st paragraph, preceding the citation, under National Policies. That came from:
Ferraro, Paul J., Craig McIntosh, and Monica Ospina. "The Effectiveness of the U.S. Endangered Species Act: An econometric analysis using matching methods." Pending publication.

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