M. Paige Koon

The South Carolina Red-cockaded Woodpecker Safe Harbor Program: Partnering with Private Landowners in Endangered Species Conservation

The red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) (RCW), a species dependent upon mature, fire-maintained pine forests in the Southeastern United States, was listed as endangered in 1970 due to habitat destruction and degradation. With roughly a quarter of RCWs occupying private lands, many landowners were reluctant to maintain habitat attractive to RCWs for fear of Endangered Species Act (ESA) land-use restrictions associated with harboring the birds. The Safe Harbor concept was developed to address this issue: in exchange for voluntary habitat maintenance and enhancement, private...