Journal Article

Biodiversity and optimal multi-species ecosystem management

Environmental and Resource Economics, 67: 321-350

We analyze optimal multi-species management in a dynamic bio-economic model taking into account both harvesting profit and biodiversity value. Within an analytical model, we show that extinction is never optimal when a global biodiversity value is taken into account. Moreover, a stronger preference for species diversity leads to a more even distribution of stock sizes in the optimal steady state, and a higher value of biodiversity increases steady state stock sizes for all species when species are ecologically independent or symbiotic. For a predator–prey ecosystem, the effects may be positive or negative depending on relative prices and the strength of species interaction. The analytical results are illustrated and extended using an age-structured three-species predator–prey model for the Baltic cod, sprat, and herring fisheries. In this quantitative application, we find that using stock biomass or stock numbers as abundance indicators in the biodiversity index may lead to opposite results.


Martin F. Quaas