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Cost-effectiveness analysis of sandhill crane habitat management

July 1, 2013

Invasive species often threaten native wildlife populations and strain the budgets of agencies charged with wildlife management. We demonstrate the potential of cost-effectiveness analysis to improve the efficiency and value of efforts to enhance sandhill crane (Grus canadensis) roosting habitat. We focus on the central Platte River in Nebraska (USA), a region of international ecological importance for migrating avian species including sandhill cranes. Cost-effectiveness analysis is a valuation process designed to compare alternative actions based on the cost of achieving a pre-determined objective. We estimated costs for removal of invasive vegetation using geographic information system simulations and calculated benefits as the increase in area of sandhill crane roosting habitat. We generated cost effectiveness values for removing invasive vegetation on 7 land parcels and for the entire central Platte River to compare the cost-effectiveness of management at specific sites and for the central Platte River landscape. Median cost effectiveness values for the 7 land parcels evaluated suggest that costs for creating 1 additional hectare of sandhill crane roosting habitat totaled US $1,595. By contrast, we found that creating an additional hectare of sandhill crane roosting habitat could cost as much as US $12,010 for some areas in the central Platte River, indicating substantial cost savings can be achieved by using a cost effectiveness analysis to target specific land parcels for management. Cost-effectiveness analysis, used in conjunction with geographic information systems, can provide decision-makers with a new tool for identifying the most economically efficient allocation of resources to achieve habitat management goals.

Publication Year 2013
Title Cost-effectiveness analysis of sandhill crane habitat management
DOI 10.1002/jwmg.587
Authors Andrew C. Kessler, James W. Merchant, Steven D. Shultz, Craig R. Allen
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Wildlife Management
Index ID 70044591
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit