Conservation of wildlife. A bio-economic model of a wildlife reserve under the pressure of habitat destruction and harvesting outside the reserve
Biodiversity is today threatened by many factors of which destruction and reduction of habitats are considered most important for terrestrial species. One way to counteract these threats is to establish reserves with restrictions on land-use and exploitation. However, very few reserves can be considered islands, wildlife species roam over large expanses, often via some density dependent dispersal process. As a consequence, habitat destruction, and exploitation, taking place outside will influence the species abundance inside the conservation area. The paper presents a theoretical model for analysing this type of management problem. The model presented allows for both the common symmetric dispersal as well as what is called asymmetric dispersal between reserve and outside area. The main finding is that habitat destruction outside may not necessarily have negative impact upon the species abundance in the reserve. As a consequence, economic forces working in the direction of reducing the surrounding habitat have unclear effects on the species abundance within the protected area. We also find that harvesting outside the reserve may have quite modest effect on the species abundance in the reserve. This underlines the attractiveness of reserves from a conservation viewpoint.
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