Do Land Conservation Programs Crowd Out or Crowd in Each Others’ Conservation?
12:00 - 13:30
Resource land conservation provides a wide range of environmental benefits. The benefits can vary based on the spatial pattern or contiguity of conservation activities. Land conservation programs sponsored by government agencies, quasi-governmental agencies, and private conservation organizations may interact with each other and have unintended impacts on the spatial arrangement of conservation efforts. Hence, understanding the interaction between different programs is needed to improve social welfare. We study whether a new program, Rural Legacy program in Maryland, crowds out or crowds in the conservation efforts of existing programs in the large contiguous blocks of land that are designated for its conservation effort. Using parcel level data and a propensity score matching method, we empirically test this phenomenon and find that parcels in designated Rural Legacy areas are more likely to be conserved by other programs than parcels outside the area after the designation. This net “crowding-in” effect increases the likelihood of the parcels within designated areas being conserved by about 10% and the average conserved acres by about 3%.