Document Type


Publication Date



College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Wildlife conservation is challenged by the expensive and cost prohibitive strategy of directly purchasing land to protect habitat at the landscape scale. An alternative mechanism used to protect habitat includes payments for ecosystem‐services (PES), where farmers and landowners are paid to manage their lands for a particular ecological service. Some of these easements are used to conserve a diversity of resources (i.e., water, soil, nutrient cycling, and biodiversity); however, the largest PES easement programs focus on carbon sequestration and are sold on international carbon markets as offsets. Here, we demonstrate that successfully protecting vulnerable habitat for wildlife can be achieved through partnerships with programs that trade in carbon offsets by focusing landowner recruitment activities in areas with ecologically valuable habitat. This collaborative strategy represents a cost effective and efficient model to protect wildlife at landscape scales. As proof of concept, in 2015 we successfully protected and restored habitats used by golden‐winged warblers, a species being considered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for protection under the Endangered Species Act, by partnering with organizations responsible for managing carbon offsets in Costa Rica. Through these partnerships, we successfully protected 790 ha of valuable habitat, within a single year, by recruiting farmers and landowners into an easement program in the heart of the warbler's winter range. We present our efforts as a model for similar collaborative partnerships in the tropics and beyond.

Publisher's Statement

© 2020 The Authors. Conservation Science and Practice published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for Conservation Biology. Publisher’s version of record:

Publication Title

Conservation Science and Practice

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Publisher's PDF



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.