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Harvest and extinction in multi-species ecosystems

  • Potts, Matthew D.
  • Vincent, Jeffrey R.
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    A potential cost of harvesting in multi-species ecosystems is the extinction of nonharvested species that are at the same trophic level as the harvested species. Existing analytical models are not well-suited for studying this harvest externality because they focus on species interactions across trophic levels instead of within them. We identify the conditions under which the harvesting of a single species causes at least one extinction of nonharvested species at the same trophic level. We compare two harvest regimes: uniform management, in which a privately optimal harvest rate is applied to the entire ecosystem; and specialized management, in which a portion of the ecosystem is intensively managed for the harvested species and the rest is left unharvested. Which regime is more likely to result in extinction depends on the discount rate and on the harvested species' competitive ability and colonization rate compared to those of the other species.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VDY-4PC4F6K-1/1/b3029d746e7737ddef9c451ae0ed219a
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 65 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 2 (April)
    Pages: 336-347

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:65:y:2008:i:2:p:336-347
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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    1. Brock,W.A. & Xepapadeas,A., 2003. "Valuing biodiversity from an economic perspective : a unified economic, ecological and genetic approach," Working papers 9, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    2. Finnoff, David & Tschirhart, John, 2003. "Harvesting in an eight-species ecosystem," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 589-611, May.
    3. Brock,W. & Xepapadeas,A., 2000. "Optimal ecosystem management when species compete for limiting resources," Working papers 27, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    4. Clark, Colin W, 1973. "Profit Maximization and the Extinction of Animal Species," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 950-61, July-Aug..
    5. Tilman, David & Polasky, Stephen & Lehman, Clarence, 2005. "Diversity, productivity and temporal stability in the economies of humans and nature," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 405-426, May.
    6. Flaaten, Ola, 1991. "Bioeconomics of sustainable harvest of competing species," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 163-180, March.
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