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No sympathy for the devil

Author

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  • Horan, Richard D.
  • Melstrom, Richard T.

Abstract

Pathogens are a significant driver of biodiversity loss. We examine two wildlife disease management strategies that have seen growing use, sometimes in combination: (i) trapping-and-culling infectious animals (disease control), and (ii) trapping-and-translocating healthy animals to a reserve, with possible future reintroduction. A reserve can improve conservation when there is no disease. But, when infection exists, we show investing in the reserve may counteract disease control. We find jointly pursuing both strategies is sub-optimal when the reserve is costly to maintain. Numerically, we examine management of Devil Facial Tumor Disease, which has generated extinction risks for Tasmanian Devils. Disease control (though not eradication) is generally part of an optimal strategy, although a reserve is also optimal if it can be maintained costlessly. This implies preserving the original population by addressing in situ conservation risks, rather than translocating animals to a reserve and giving up on the original population, is generally the first-best.

Suggested Citation

  • Horan, Richard D. & Melstrom, Richard T., 2011. "No sympathy for the devil," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 367-385.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:62:y:2011:i:3:p:367-385
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2011.05.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard D. Horan & Eli P. Fenichel, 2007. "Economics and Ecology of Managing Emerging Infectious Animal Diseases," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1232-1238.
    2. Sanchirico, James N. & Wilen, James E., 2005. "Optimal spatial management of renewable resources: matching policy scope to ecosystem scale," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 23-46, July.
    3. Tahvonen, Olli & Salo, Seppo, 1996. "Nonconvexities in Optimal Pollution Accumulation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 160-177, September.
    4. Léonard,Daniel & Long,Ngo van, 1992. "Optimal Control Theory and Static Optimization in Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521331586.
    5. Rondeau, Daniel, 2001. "Along the Way Back from the Brink," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 156-182, September.
    6. Horan, Richard D. & Shogren, Jason F. & Gramig, Benjamin M., 2008. "Wildlife conservation payments to address habitat fragmentation and disease risks," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(03), pages 415-439, June.
    7. Bicknell, Kathryn & Wilen, James E. & Howitt, Richard E., 1999. "Public policy and private incentives for livestock disease control," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 0(Issue 4), pages 1-21, December.
    8. Damania, Richard & Bulte, Erwin H., 2007. "The economics of wildlife farming and endangered species conservation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3-4), pages 461-472, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:enreec:v:70:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10640-018-0227-y is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Melstrom, Richard T., 2014. "Managing apparent competition between the feral pigs and native foxes of Santa Cruz Island," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 157-162.
    3. repec:wsi:wepxxx:v:03:y:2017:i:02:n:s2382624x16500119 is not listed on IDEAS

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