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What drives long-run biodiversity change? New insights from combining economics, palaeoecology and environmental history

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  • Hanley, Nick
  • Tinch, Dugald
  • Angelopoulos, Konstantinos
  • Davies, Althea
  • Barbier, Edward B.
  • Watson, Fiona

Abstract

This paper presents a new approach for understanding the effects of economic factors on biodiversity change over the long run. We illustrate this approach by studying the determinants of biodiversity change in upland Scotland from 1600 to 2000. The measure of biodiversity used is a proxy for plant species diversity, constructed using statistical analysis of palaeoecological (pollen) data. We assemble a new data set of historical land use and prices over 11 sites during this 400-year period; this data set also includes information on changes in agricultural technology, climate and land ownership. A panel model is then estimated that controls for both supply and demand shifts over time. A main result is that prices that act in our model as a proxy for livestock numbers do indeed impact on biodiversity, with higher prices leading to lower biodiversity.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanley, Nick & Tinch, Dugald & Angelopoulos, Konstantinos & Davies, Althea & Barbier, Edward B. & Watson, Fiona, 2009. "What drives long-run biodiversity change? New insights from combining economics, palaeoecology and environmental history," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 5-20, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:57:y:2009:i:1:p:5-20
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Armsworth, Paul R. & Kendall, Bruce E. & Davis, Frank W., 2004. "An introduction to biodiversity concepts for environmental economists," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 115-136, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brei, Michael & Pérez-Barahona, Agustín & Strobl, Eric, 2016. "Environmental pollution and biodiversity: Light pollution and sea turtles in the Caribbean," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 95-116.
    2. Nick Hanley & Simanti Banerjee & Gareth D. Lennox & Paul R. Armsworth, 2012. "How should we incentivize private landowners to ‘produce’ more biodiversity?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(1), pages 93-113, Spring.
    3. Izdebski, Adam & Koloch, Grzegorz & Słoczyński, Tymon & Tycner, Marta, 2016. "On the use of palynological data in economic history: New methods and an application to agricultural output in Central Europe, 0–2000AD," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 17-39.
    4. Acs, Szvetlana & Armsworth, Paul R & Dallimer, Martin & Gaston, Kevin J & Hanley, Nicholas & Robertson, Philip & Wilson, Paul, 2008. "The effect of decoupling on marginal agricultural systems: implications for farm incomes, land use and upland ecology," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2008-18, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.

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