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Conservation Banking: Incentives for Stewardship (USFWS, 2004)



Conservation banks are permanently protected privately or publicly owned lands that are managed for endangered, threatened, and other at-risk species. A conservation bank is like a biological bank account. Instead of money, the bank owner has habitat or species credits to sell. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) approves habitat or species credits based on the natural resource values on the bank lands. In exchange for permanently protecting the bank lands and managing them for listed and other at-risk species, conservation bank owners may sell credits to developers or others who need to compensate for the environmental impacts of their projects. Conservation banking offers a range of opportunities. Lands used for ranching, farming, and timber operations can function as conservation banks if habitat is managed for listed and at-risk species. Habitat may also be restored for listed species. Streams or other corridors that provide habitat linkages between existing protected areas may be enhanced and managed. Rather than building on their lands, developers may choose to establish conservation banks.

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