The Business of Endangered Species Management

Burying Beetle

American Burying Beetle
Photo: Doug Blacklund

The American Burying Beetle, Nicrophorus americanus, is an endangered species with limited habitat remaining. Eastern Oklahoma contains significant habitat that must be preserved or mitigated. Mitigation typically takes the form of a company or organization establishing a permanent habitat area approved by the US-FWS. The protected habitat can generate income for American Burying Beetle conservation by selling mitigation credits to other parties who wish to develop land in a way that negatively impacts the beetle. A typical credit sells for around $10,000 per acre. The mitigation requirement can significantly increase the initial costs of development. Some governmental units in Oklahoma, object to the increased cost and would like the Burying Beetle removed from the endangered species list. Perhaps they should instead re-evaluate their development goals? Can they develop by infill of existing already developed areas instead? Do they really need to widen the current roads and bridges?

The cost of beetle protection is a true environmental cost that must be paid by someone. In the past, people and projects could destroy beetle habitat with no monetary cost to themselves, by transferring the costs to others or degrading the ecosystem. Now the cost has become part of the cost of doing business. Special interests can fight the process or they can comply and reevaluate their own processes to minimize the impact. Sprawl and development have real costs for the environment. Sometimes it takes an endangered species to bring that cost into our collective conscience.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Endangered Species, Policy. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Business of Endangered Species Management

  1. Pingback: The Business of Endangered Species Management | GarryRogers Nature Conservation

  2. GarryRogers says:

    Thanks for the article. I scooped it (http://scoop.it/t/ecoscifi) and ran it in my blog.

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