Current Initiatives

During 2019, PERC is focused on the following issues.


Wildlife

Conserving Migration Corridors

Any effort to protect wildlife corridors will necessarily require support from a key group: private landowners. That’s because whether it’s elk, deer, grizzly bears, or monarch butterflies, the survival of many species depends on the actions of landowners. For a landscape-scale approach to conservation to succeed, it will require active involvement of America’s private landowners who provide essential habitat.

Endangered Species as Assets Instead of Liabilities

The Endangered Species Act has proven effective at preventing extinctions but not at promoting species recovery. Because we care about preventing extinction and recovering endangered species, the challenge is to find reforms that preserve what the act does well while boosting incentives for recovering species.

Reining in the Wild Horse Crisis

The saga of the wild horse in the West follows a well-worn theme—competition over scarce natural resources often leads to conflict. Paying ranchers, families, and other willing parties to adopt wild horses and burros is a step toward reining in the problem in the 21st century.

Rethinking the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation

More and more Americans view wildlife as human-like parts of their social networks, while fewer believe that wildlife should be managed to benefit people through activities such as hunting and fishing, which have seen participation declines in recent years. These realities present challenges for the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Hunters and anglers play crucial roles in wildlife conservation and bear the lion’s share of the cost through permits, tags, licenses, and user taxes. PERC research explores these challenges and their implications for wildlife management today, aiming to inspire fresh ideas to enhance wildlife management in the 21st century.

Conserving African Wildlife

Amidst changing and emerging markets in Africa, wildlife habitat conservation depends on making wildlife economically competitive with other land uses such as farming or energy development. The future of conservation hinges on establishing incentives to provide habitat rather than transform wildlands into cropland or kill wildlife that prey on livestock. PERC research examines how markets that give value to wildlife and their habitat play a vital role in promoting the conservation of African wildlife.

Learn more about PERC’s research on wildlife here.


Public Lands

Parks Without Politics

Politics can pervade parks and undermine the ability of local managers to sustain and protect them. Instead of politicizing our parks, we should be looking for ways to make them less vulnerable to Washington’s budget fights and ensure that they cannot be used as pawns to advance the agenda of any administration, whether Democratic or Republican.

The Future of Outdoor Recreation Funding

Outdoor recreation has never been more popular, but today’s recreational demands are bringing new challenges for public land management. While visits to national parks, forests, and other federal lands are surging, many of the recreational budgets to maintain and improve them are stagnant or declining. PERC research examines the current funding realities for our public lands and explores the benefits of funding models that rely more on users than politics.

Give Conservationists a Seat at the Natural Resources Table

Technically, any U.S. citizen can bid for and hold leases for energy, grazing, or timber resources on public lands. But legal requirements often preclude conservationists from participating in such markets because federal and state rules typically require leaseholders to graze, harvest, extract, or otherwise develop the resources. PERC promotes open bidding processes for resource management on public lands. Letting any interested party participate in auctions would allow resources to be managed for their highest-valued use, whether development or conservation. After all, shouldn’t conservationists be able to put their money where their mouths are and bid just like anyone else?

Modernizing the U.S. Forest Service

Once considered a model of efficiency within the federal government, the U.S. Forest Service is now plagued by dysfunction. Today, layers of regulations and conflicting mandates that prevent or delay forest management hamstring the agency. This creates significant challenges for modern national forest managers, including wildfire costs that are escalating, litigation that is hindering forest management, and competition between national forest users that is creating conflicts. PERC research examines the challenges facing national forest management policy and explores innovative, decentralized solutions that can achieve better outcomes for communities and their environments.

Learn more about PERC’s research on public lands here.