Wetland retention on the prairies through private landowner stewardship

Tamara Julie Irene Hursin
Loss and degradation of wetlands across Canada's prairie pothole region in Canada is severe and accelerating as on-going intensification and expansion of the agricultural land base continues to exert pressure on the remaining wetland resource. Traditionally wetlands have been regarded as unexploited wastelands to be converted to more productive agricultural uses. Although wetlands are now recognized as providing vital functions of a hydrological, ecological and social nature which have economic
more » ... which have economic and social value as well as intrinsic value, difficulties in quantifying these benefits, coupled with readily calculated and realized benefits from agricultural production, result in continuing wetland losses. As well, because wetland benefits accrue to the general public rather than the private land holders who dominate the pothole region, individual owners cannot capture payment for these benefits and thus favor agricultural production over wetland retention. The primary objective of the thesis is to evaluate nonregulatory approaches to encouraging private landowner stewardship on the prairies with respect to wetland retention. From the literature, it is established that a nonregulatory approach to preserving wetlands on private lands is preferable to police power regulation from both a landowner and general public perspective. Several benefits associated with using nonregulatory tools to promote changes in landowner behavior are identified and developed into an analytical framework. Using this framework, six market and moral suasion nonregulatory tools commonly used to encourage landowners to retain wetlands are assessed for their apparent advantages and disadvantages in supporting the primary concerns of landowners faced with a decision whether to enter into a stewardship program. From this assessment, conclusions regarding probable owner acceptability of the mechanisms are drawn, acceptability being a measure for how successful the nonregulatory tools will be in promoting private stewardship of wetlands. The exp [...]
doi:10.14288/1.0076955 fatcat:h7nqfvwt2bh6ngg4ranjinvmsq