Previous estimates of the funding needed to secure a network of habitat conservation areas as defined by conservation planning efforts amount to approximately $5 billion to $8 billion per year over 40 years. We found that US federal and state spending on land conservation—which we use as a surrogate for habitat conservation spending—totaled $32 billion between 1992 and 2001. Moreover, state spending is very uneven geographically, with 80 percent of the investment coming from 20 percent of the states. Most of the federal investment is in short-term land-rental or cost-share programs rather than permanent easements or fee title acquisitions. These results suggest that the federal and state governments are not spending enough to create a network of habitat conservation areas, nor tracking spending or acreage adequately to determine the long-term effectiveness of this habitat conservation investment.
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Vol. 57 • No. 5