Economic/ecological tradeoffs among ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation

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An integrated economic/ecological model is built to address tradeoffs between
biodiversity conservation and two marketable rangeland ecosystem services: cattle grazing and elk hunting. The ecology is represented by an eleven species food web in which individual optimizing plants and animals engage in competitive and predator/prey relationships. The ecological model defines a steady-state set of sustainable grazing and hunting options, and for each option biodiversity is measured using an index defined over the eleven species. In linking the ecology to the economics, social welfare depends on grazing profits and hunter net benefits. The problem can be stated as maximizing economic welfare over two ecosystem services, subject to their sustainable use and subject to a target level of biodiversity. A numerical application with economic and biological data from the Western United States is used to determine sustainable grazing and hunting options for alternative biodiversity levels, and to select the option that maximizes welfare.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEcological Economics
Pages (from-to)116-127
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 09.2013

    Research areas

  • Sustainability Science - Ecosystem services, Biodiversity, Threshold, Multispecies, Economic/ecological integration, Rangelands