Shifting property tax from private land with high conservation value to regions with lower conservation value could help the Canadian government meet its conservation targets – without taking a hit to tax revenue. A new study paper explores the concept of such “tax-shifting” as a way to maximize the efficiency of conservation investments in highly populated areas. The study looked at BC biodiversity hotspots like southern Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the Georgia Basin, 80% of which are under private ownership. Authors suggest that increasing the property tax of lands less crucial for conservation by 0.5%, and eliminating property tax from private yet highly valuable lands completely, would go a long way in conserving at-risk species at a lower cost, by giving land owners an incentive to allow conservation efforts on their land.


Richard Schuster, Elizabeth A. Law, Amanda D. Rodewald, Tara G. Martin, Kerrie A. Wilson, Matthew Watts, Hugh P. Possingham, Peter Arcese

Corresponding author:

Richard Schuster, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia, BC, Email:

Original paper published in Conservation Letters on July 26, 2017.