Issue no. 5 - Autumn 2011




BIOECON 13: Conference outputs

An overview

by Tim Swanson, the Graduate Institute

The 13th BIOECON Annual Conference was convened this year in Geneva by the Graduate Institute's new Centre for International Environmental Studies (CIES).

The conference was supported by a Founding Partnership made up of IUCN-the World Conservation Union, Conservation International, UNEP, FEEM and the Graduate Institute. These organisations have teamed together to provide ongoing support to the network and to the conference. In addition, other institutions providing support to the meeting this year included CSIRO, the European Investment Bank, and Stirling University. FEEM and the Graduate Institute help to coordinate the event and support the ongoing activities of the network. In addition, UNEP once again provided support to scholars from the developing world, making it possible for several presenters to travel to Geneva to present their work.

The Scientific Partnership of BIOECON now consists of about twenty scholars who are nominated by the partnership in recognition of their contribution to the field, as well as continuing participation in the network. They provide the scientific foundation to the conference, by reviewing the papers and hosting the annual meeting. This year there were more than one hundred and twenty papers submitted, and seventy papers accepted for presentation at the two-day event.

The keynote speakers for BIOECON 13 were Prof. Erwin Bulte of the University of Wageningen and Prof. Steve Polasky of the University of Minnesota. A policy roundtable on the role of natural resource valuation in national accounts was organised by the institutional partners of BIOECON. In addition to the founding partners, Glenn-Marie Lange of the World Bank participated in this session, and presented results from ongoing work in this area. Pushpam Kumar of UNEP then gave a brief presentation on the establishment of the International Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, an expert panel intended to provide a scientific basis for the further development of global conservation policies.

The University of Cambridge has been elected the host institution of BIOECON 14, to occur in Cambridge next September. The event will be hosted by Andreas Kontoleon, and will provide for another opportunity for the partners and participants to meet to further the academic discourse on the economics of biodiversity and conservation.


Incorporating Natural Capital Values into National Accounting:
A panel discussion at the 13th BIOECON Conference

by Rosimeiry Portela, Conservation International

Systematic lack of assessment and estimate of the magnitude of the contribution of natural capital to national economies results into the exclusion of nature's value from policy analysis and precludes development of management alternatives that recognize the importance of ecosystem services to human well-being. One proposed approach to overcome this significant limitation of information toward better, more efficient decision-making and planning is the integration of ecosystem services values into income accounts. The ultimate goal is to demonstrate the link between natural capital and long-term, sustainable economic development.

The purpose of the plenary panel, which was organized and facilitated by Dr. Rosimeiry Portela, Senior Director Science and Knowledge Conservation, Conservation International (CI), was to provide a broad overview on the progress of pilot initiatives to incorporate natural capital into national accounting and to discuss the potential policy implications and challenges associated with its implementation. The panel also highlighted the needed research to move it forward and to make the integration of ecosystem services values into income accounts a reality.

In the first talk, Dr. Glen-Marie Lange, Team leader, Policy and Economics/Environment Department, The World Bank, talked about the Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES), a World Bank-led global partnership to promote sustainable development worldwide through the implementation of comprehensive wealth accounting that focuses on the value of natural capital and integration of 'green accounting' in more conventional development planning analysis. Dr. Lange noted that WAVES is currently being implemented in 6-10 pilot countries, including Botswana, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Madagascar, Philippines, Mauritius (AFD). Other countries where implementation is being discussed include Mexico, Vietnam, Indonesia. Australia, Norway, UK, Canada are the likely developed countries on which the initiative will also be implemented. In such countries, WAVES seeks to foster the implementation of natural capital accounting, physical and monetary, and incorporation in policy analysis and development planning. Dr. Lange concluded with a timeline for WAVES, whose milestones include a 2012 Preliminary report to Rio+20 Summit and a 2015: Report to the MDG review, proposal regarding environment MDG.

In the second talk, Dr. Pushpam Kumar, Chief, Ecosystem Services Economics Unit, Division of Environment Programme Implementation, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) addressed the state of the art on research on Economics of Ecosystem Services and future directions. Dr. Kumar presented important milestones in the recent development of economics of ecosystem services science (i.e. MA, TEEB, etc), addressing issues where there is emerging consensus in the scientific community, such as the incomplete metrics, the recognition of ecosystem services as a natural capital, and of approaches to mainstreaming values. He pointed out the need to change macroeconomic analysis to more fully incorporate the role of natural capital into development, and posed important questions needing attention by the research communities, such that of BIOECON.

Dr. Paulo Nunes, Coordinator of the Mediterranean Science Commission (CIESM) Marine Economics Program, discussed about overcoming valuation challenges from the perspective of the relevant scale of analysis to address different policy questions. In his presentation, Dr. Nunes synthesized recent attempts to modify and extend conventional national accounts, highlighting two perceptions: one, that natural capital values values are incorporated, embbeded in the present statistical systems, and hence that the role of economist is to disentangle such values from accounting; and the other, that their absence in such systems in accounting requires the need to extend the present valuation archicteture that make natural values explicit. Dr. Nunes emphasized the need for a holist, integrated, sptatially explicit archictecture that is able to comprehend the different dimensions of values and of their impact on the overall provision of ecosystem services (supply side) as well their effects on the beneficiaries (demand side).

The last panelist, Dr. Andrew Seidl, Head, Global Economics and Environment Programme (GEEP) with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), presented on lessons from recent experience of economic valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services and development. In his presentation, Dr. Seidl pointed out the different roles valuation can play, specifically with respect to awareness and policy development, emphasizing that different goals will dictate distinct research questions/foci, approaches , audiences and ultimately face methodological and location challenges. He further noted that valuation studies can answer specific questions well, but do not combine, scale or transfer easily or accurately. For that reason, he recommended for valuation exercises, particularly those in developing countries, to consider , among other things, the linkages between environment and development, the high level of vulnerability, the role of community culture in resource management, the potential for relatively large local impacts of individual projects. Dr. Seidl concluded with the challenges and high priority opportunities to research, especially in less studied locations/ecosystems/institutions: marine, drylands, business, customary rights.


Guest article
Domesticating PES: Payments for Agrobiodiversity Conservation Services

by Adam G. Drucker - Bioversity International
Ulf Narloch - University of Cambridge, Department of Land Economy

Unay Pascual - University of Cambridge, Department of Land Economy - Basque Centre for Climate Change, BC3 - IKERBASQUE, Basque Foundation for Science

This paper presents results of an innovative developing country application of payments for ecosystem services (PES) through an assessment of the potential of so-called payments for agrobiodiversity conservation services (PACS) to serve as a least-cost and pro-poor agrobiodiversity conservation incentive scheme.
Following the development of a conceptual framework and the identification of variety-level conservation priorities for an Andean grain in Peru and Bolivia, competitive tenders (reverse auctions) were implemented across a number of communities in each country in order to determine willingness to provide conservation services. Selection criteria were developed in order to facilitate the identification of preferred farmers/communities to undertake such services based on efficiency, effectiveness and equity considerations. Findings to date indicate that farmers/communities were indeed willing to undertake a conservation services contract for threatened priority crop varieties and that participation costs vary widely between communities, thereby creating opportunities to minimize intervention costs by selecting least-cost providers. In-kind, community-level rewards were shown to provide sufficient incentives and suggest that a number of them could be provided through existing government agricultural and educational development programmes. The enthusiasm of the project participants to maintain the threatened crop genetic resources in future years, regardless of any further intervention and their interest in exploring market development opportunities for these varieties, suggests that the potential for PACS to support national biodiversity policy implementation and make a significant contribution to agrobiodiversity conservation and use goals, as well as to improve poor farmer livelihoods, once it is up-scaled, continues to appear promising. A number of future research and development issues are also identified.

Introduction - The importance of agrobiodiversity and accounting for its total economic value
The diversity of cultivated species has been and continues to be the basis of our food supply and good nutrition, and contributes importantly to the capacity of agricultural and food systems to cope with global change. Many components of agricultural biodiversity 1 provide a mixture of benefits to the farmer (i.e. private benefits, for example related to the production of food, fodder and fibres) and benefits to wider society (i.e. public benefits, for example related to agroecosystem resilience and the maintenance of evolutionary processes and future options). Markets capture only a part of their value and by underestimating their true worth, varietal choices made by farmers may lead to less genetic diversity being conserved and used than is socially desirable (Heal et al., 2004; Pearce and Moran, 1994; Drucker, 2007). The State of the World Reports on Plant Genetic Resources (FAO, 2010) and Animal Genetic Resources (FAO, 2007) for Food and Agriculture in fact depict an unprecedented loss occurring across the globe of agricultural species, varieties, livestock breeds and associated traditional knowledge 2 . Causes of such loss include indiscriminate replacement, changes in productions systems, changes in consumer preferences, market development and globalization, misguided government interventions (including preferential subsidies), disease epidemics, natural disasters and civil strife. The CBD, which views in situ conservation as the preferred approach, has consequently called for the development of positive incentives (COP 10 Decision X/2) for conservation as part of its Strategic Plan for 2011-2020.  

Applying PES to agrobiodiversity conservation issues
Payments for agrobiodiversity conservation services (PACS) may be understood as a subcategory of agriculture-related PES that focuses on socially valuable and threatened local PAGR (Narloch et al., 2011a). The consideration of PES for the promotion of PAGR is limited and represents an innovative use of PES. Recent research (Narloch et al., 2011a&b) 3 has sought to assess the potential of PACS to serve as a least-cost and pro-poor PAGR conservation incentive scheme, especially in the context of poor rural communities in developing countries where most threatened and valuable local PAGR can still be found. PACS might be expected to focus on a particular agricultural practice, such as sustaining the on–farm utilization of local PAGR. The on-farm utilization of local PAGR in turn relates to the on-farm conservation of genetic diversity which is associated with provision of specific agrobiodiversity conservation services. The “providers” of such services are most likely to be found in less intensive agricultural systems. Relevant communities are located in remote areas of developing countries, consisting of small-scale farmers, who manage species, varieties or breeds with unique adaptive traits (e.g. disease resistance, drought tolerance) bred over many years of domestication across a wide range of environments (Smale, 2006; Kontoleon et al., 2008).

Background to the use of competitive tenders in the context of PES
In order to provide an adequate incentive for a farmer to cultivate a crop species/variety or livestock breed that may be less profitable than one s/he would have cultivated in the absence of the conservation programme, it may be expected that the incentive will have to be sufficient to make up this difference (i.e. the “opportunity cost”), as illustrated in Figure 1. A good understanding of the opportunity costs involved is thus fundamental to ensuring that incentives are set appropriately and will also play a key role in determining the total resources required to implement the conservation programme.


However, given that opportunity costs may vary significantly between farming households, information asymmetries can result in farmers having an incentive to exaggerate their true opportunity costs in order to maximise the conservation payments they would receive.
Competitive tender schemes using auction-based mechanisms have been shown to be capable of tackling such cost-inefficiencies arising from the existence of information asymmetries by identifying participating landowners’ actual conservation costs (Ferraro, 2008; Latacz-Lohmann and van der Hamsvoort, 1997; Stoneham et al., 2003). Accordingly, it is argued that such tender mechanisms are able to maximize the efficiency of PES, relative to fixed price approaches.

The Threatened Quinoa Variety Competitive Tender in Bolivia and Peru
Quinoa is a cereal crop with a long history in the Andes, but quinoa diversity has recently been being undermined through the replacement of varieties by commercially favoured ones (Rojas et al., 2009). Following the expert identification of the priority (threatened) varieties to be included in the competitive tender, communities within the locations where such varieties are found were identified and invited to take part in the competitive tender for related conservation contracts. A local NGO assisted the CBOs to prepare their bid offers. The CBOs were free to determine for each of the priority landraces: (1) the total land area in the community that would be allocated to their cultivation (a proxy for genetic diversity maintenance); (2) the number of farmers within the CBO who would take part in the conservation activity (a proxy for agricultural knowledge and cultural traditions maintenance); and (3) the in-kind community-level payment required – typical payments or rewards requested included, agricultural equipment and inputs, as well as construction and school materials.

The selection process
A total of 12 Bolivian and 13 Peruvian CBOs participated in the conservation tender. US$4,000 was available for each conservation programme in each country. Given that the objective of the tender is to maintain genetic resource diversity and the accompanying socio-cultural mechanisms that help to sustain such diversity, the land area and farmer number proxies featured as selection criteria along with a third criterion, which was the maximisation of the number of participating CBOs. The latter helps ensure the heterogeneity of seed systems in a given region (and may thus be considered as a proxy for geneflow maintenance), as well as reducing the risks associated with climatic shocks and/or pest/disease outbreaks by seeking to maximise the spatial distribution of the conservation locations. Furthermore, seeking to maximise the number of participating CBOs is also compatible with local perceptions of fairness, which may be considered important in ensuring that PACS-type interventions are socially sustainable over the long-term.

Consequently, winning offers could, in principle, be selected according to a range of different criteria. Subject to the conservation budget, selection could be based on the maximization of any of the three selection criteria or a combination thereof, i.e. land area under cultivation (A), the number of participating farmers (F) and the number of participating CBOs (O). A combined approach (C), identified iteratively, used a weighting of 40% (A)-40%(F)-20%(O). Each of these four selection approaches (A, F, O and C) produces a different ranking of the CBO offers with respect to their cost-effectiveness.

Conservation Costs and Equity Trade-Offs
Conservation costs
Figure 2 depicts the marginal cost (supply) curves for the three selection criteria for each of the prioritised landraces. As can be seen, there are significant differences between the Bolivian (grey) and Peruvian (black) supply curves, in particular with regard to the supply of land area for conservation.

Using this information, it is possible to calculate the total conservation costs for any potential selection approach. For instance, in order to allocate one hectare to a given priority landrace through a PES scheme, the minimum payment would range from US$143 in Bolivia to US$2,400 in Peru. Where effective conservation might be considered to require the involvement of at least 20 farmers per landrace, this would cost US$460-US$920. Assuming that effective delivery requires at least five CBOs, conserving any given landrace would cost US$200-US$500 in Bolivia, and US$800-US$1,500 in Peru.



Cost-effectiveness considerations
Table 1 presents the outcomes associated with the three single criteria selection approaches. As would be expected, selection approach A (area), is associated with a maximization of the total area under conservation and this approach performs best in terms of funds spent per hectare cultivated with all the targeted landraces. For all landraces, selection approach F (farmer numbers, while maximising participating farmer numbers, results in the lowest amount of land allocated to conservation. Similarly, selection approach O (organisation numbers) generally implies trading-off land area and participating farmer numbers in order to maximise CBO participation. For example, in Bolivia, using selection method T for Noveton leads to 2.94 ha being conserved and involves 17 farmers and 5 communities. By contrast, using selection criteria A, 23 farmers would be involved but only 0.61 ha would be conserved and 4 communities involved. Similar trade-offs can be identified under the O and C selection criteria.


Consequently, trade-offs can be identified between the cost-effectiveness of the three conservation activities to be targeted. In particular, a clear trade-off arises when trying to maximise conservation area and number of farmers i.e. the best offers in terms of costs per land unit do not correspond to the best ones in terms of costs per farmer. Furthermore, the most cost-effective selection approaches based on land area or farmers cannot at the same time maximize the number of participating CBOs. In other words, the choice is between individually maximising conservation activities based on any one of the three selection criteria (land area cultivated, number of participating farmers or number of participating CBOs) and a compromise solution by combining the three selection criteria.

Equity considerations
CBOs may find that either all, part, or none of their offers are accepted depending on which of the four selection approaches aimed at maximizing the cost-effectiveness of the programme is used. Furthermore, each selection approach may be associated with a different distribution of the available budget across CBOs. For example, as can be seen in Figure 3, out of the total twelve CBOs participating in the Bolivian auction, seven CBOs would be selected under approaches A or F and ten under approaches O or C for being awarded with a contract to conserve one or more of the targeted landraces. In Peru only four from a total of 13 CBOs would be selected under approach A and eight under the other three approaches. Hence, the largest number of excluded CBOs would occur under selection approach A in both countries. In Bolivia the most unequal distribution would be associated with using selection approach F, with just one CBO appropriating more than 60% of the total budget. In Peru, selection approach A would also create a highly unequal distribution, since two thirds of the Peruvian budget would be allocated to just two CBOs. Different selection approaches also result in different CBOs being awarded with conservation contracts.


This analysis demonstrates that the distribution of rewards between the participating CBOs is very sensitive to the selection approaches used. It emphasizes the fact that local perceptions of fairness may need to be sacrificed if cost-efficiency is the overarching goal. However, there is a fear that such selection approaches may compromise the political legitimacy of the PES program and its long term success. Instead, using combined selection approaches may make the program seemingly less cost-effective in the short-term but more so in the longer-term given the higher likelihood of the scheme enduring over time.

Key Findings and Conclusions

  • FAO notes an unprecedented loss of agrobiodiversity occurring across the globe.
  • Nations have a commitment under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to conserve and sustainably use agrobiodiversity (ABD).
  • Given the existence of public good values (such as future option values, contributions to wider agroecosystem resilience, and the maintenance of evolutionary processes and traditional knowledge), positive incentives are required to ensure socially desirable levels of ABD conservation and use.
  • Agrobiodiversity-related PES appear to be a promising means through which to provide such incentives and permit cost-efficiency and pro-poor concerns to be accounted for.
  • Prioritisation protocols, competitive tender and least-cost approaches can be used to minimise overall conservation costs, thereby allowing more to be conserved in situ and impact to be maximised.
  • In the context of crop genetic resources, further research is required in order to articulate conservation goals and their contribution to ABD-relevant ecosystem services in a scientifically rigorous manner.
  • In addition, the development of baseline status measures and monitoring systems is required for key traditional plant and animal genetic resources (PAGR).
  • Under ABD-related PES, poor farmers can benefit from their new ability to provide ABD conservation and monitoring services for the public good. Payments/rewards may be made not only in cash at an individual level, but may also be made in-kind and at a community level.
  • The distribution of rewards between the participating community-based organisations is very sensitive to the selection approaches used. Targeting conservation areas or the number of conserving farmers results in a highly unequal distribution of the conservation budget.
  • Equity may need to be sacrificed if cost-efficiency is the overarching goal. However, combined selection approaches may have a higher likelihood of ensuring that the scheme endures over time.
  • Future research is required in order to explore the potential range of sustainable private and public financing options for such agrobiodiversity-related PES interventions.


1 Agricultural biodiversity refers to all diversity within and among species found in domesticated systems, including wild relatives, interacting species of pollinators, pests, parasites, and other organisms.

2 An important part of this loss is the unintended effect of increased agricultural intensification. While this intensification creates enormous benefits for humanity, there is increasing evidence that this loss can have important negative consequences (Heal et al. 2004; MEA, 2005).

3 Also see the Bioversity International website for accompanying PACS dissemination materials (video, fact sheets, policy brief, technical notes, links to journal articles)


  • Drucker, A.G. 2007. The Role of Economic Analysis in Improving Farm Animal Genetic Resource Conservation and Sustainable Use. Chapter in: FAO. 2007. State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources. FAO, Rome.
  • Drucker, A.G. and Rodriguez, L.C. 2009. Development, intensification and the conservation and sustainable use of farm animal genetic resources. Chapter in: A. Kontoleon, U. Pascual and M. Smale (eds.) Agrobiodiversity and Economic Development. Routledge.
  • FAO, 2010. Second Report on the State of the World's Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, Rome, Italy.
  • FAO, 2007. The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.  Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, Rome, Italy.
  • Ferraro, P.J., 2008. Asymmetric information and contract design for payments for environmental services. Ecological Economics 65 (4), 811–822.
  • Heal G., Walker B., Levin S., Arrow K., Dasgupta P., Daily G., Ehrlich P., Maler K. G., Kautsky N., Lubchenco J., Schneider S., Starrett D. 2004. Genetic diversity and interdependent crop choices in agriculture. Resource and Energy Economics 26, 175–184.
  • Kontoleon, A., Pascual, U., Smale, M., 2008. Agrobiodiversity Conservation and Economic Development. Routledge, Abingdon, UK.
  • Latacz-Lohmann, U., van der Hamsvoort, C., 1997. Auctions as a means of creating a market for public goods from agriculture. Journal of Agricultural Economics 49 (3), 334-345.
  • MEA (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment). 2005. Our Human Planet: Summary for Decision Makers. Island Press, Washington.
  • Narloch, U., Drucker A.G. and Pascual, U.  2011. Payments for agrobiodiversity conservation services (PACS) for sustained on-farm utilization of plant and animal genetic resources. Ecological Economics 70(11): 1837-1845.
  • Narloch, U., Pascual, U. and Drucker A.G. 2011. Can we have it all in payments for environmental services? An empirical evaluation of cost-effectiveness and social equity trade-offs in the Andes. Environmental Conservation DOI:10.1017/S0376892911000397
  • Pearce, D. and D. Moran. 1994. The economic value of biodiversity. London: Earthscan.
  • Rojas, W., Valdivia, R., Padulosi, S., Pinto, M., Soto, J.L., Alcocer, E., Guzmán, L., Estrada, R., Apapza, V., Bravo, R., 2009. From neglect to limelight: issues, methods and approaches in enhancing sustainable conservation and use of Andean grains in Peru and Bolivia. JARTS Supplement 92: 1-32.
  • Smale, M., 2006. Valuing Crop Biodiversity: On-farm Genetic Resources and Economic Change, CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK.
  • Stoneham, G., Chaudhri, V., Ha, A., Strappazzon, L., 2003. Auctions for conservation contracts: An empirical examination of Victoria’s Bush Tender trials. The Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 47(4), 477-500.

Authors' contact: Adam Drucker, Bioversity International (



dot From Brandenburg Technical University Cottbus

As part of the SOKO Bio project a software tool (Ecopay) has been developed which is able to design cost-effective compensation payments for measures to conserve endangered grassland species (altogether 30 different birds and butterflies) and habitats (7 different endangered grassland habitats). The software has been developed for agri-environment programmes in the German Federal States of Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein but, provided appropriate data input, can also be applied in other regions. The software will be introduced to decision-makers and scientists at a workshop on 12 January 2012 in Berlin.

For further information about the event and the software contact Frank Wätzold ( or check the project website (

dot From UNEP

UNEP’s GEF funded "Project for Ecosystem Services" (ProEcoServ) officially started on 6 June 2011. ProEcoServ convened in Nairobi for its inception workshop and partnership meeting from June 06-11, 2011. The four year project, with GEF grant of USD 6.3 million, is being implemented in five countries, including Chile, South Africa, Lesotho, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vietnam. The overall goal of the project is to better integrate ecosystem assessment, scenario development and economic valuation of ecosystem services into national sustainable development planning. After this joint partnership meeting, pilot countries have been organizing their national inception workshops. Vietnam organized its inception workshop in Ha Noi, Viet Nam on 30 September 2011. South Africa-Lesotho held the inception workshop in Pretoria, South Africa on 17 October 2011. Chile, and Trinidad and Tobago will organize their national inception workshops on 3 November 2011 and 5 December 2011 respectively.

Information on project activities is found on project web site:

For more information contact:

dot From UniversitE' catholique de Louvain

Post-Doc in environmental or agricultural economics

The Biodiversity Governance Unit of the Centre for Philosophy of Law is looking for 2 postdoctoral research
fellows in the field of environmental or agricultural economics in one of the following areas:

  • Economics of the provision of environmental services
  • Common pool resources
  • Agri-environmental policies
  • Technological change, innovation and the environment
  • Economics of epidemics, infectious diseases and crop pathogens as bioeconomic problems
  • Economic growth and the environment

See the job announcement

dot From University of Stirling

The Eco-Delivery Project at Stirling is currently focusing on two projects. The first project is exploring forest planting approaches in Scotland in the presence of carbon sequestration and biodiversity payments under a REDD+ scheme. The two objectives of this project are to evaluate 1) the trade-offs between carbon and biodiversity in different types of forests in the presence of the payments and 2) calculate the total social welfare under a single payment (only Carbon or Biodiversity) and a dual payment (both Carbon and Biodiversity) scheme.
The second project is exploring the performance of PES schemes in achieving spatial coordination of conservation friendly land uses on agricultural landscapes. Using experimental economic methods and simulation techniques, the key goals are to evaluate how private transaction costs of participation and information about other individuals' actions impact the performance of these PES schemes.

For more information contact Frans de Vries (

dot From University of VIGO

II Workshop on age-structured models in fishery economics and bioeconomic modelling
Hosted by the Research Groups in Economic Analysis (RGEA), and Economics, Business and the Environment (REDE) from the University of Vigo, at Vigo (Spain), the Workshop was held last 4th-5th of November 2011. The Workshop was a follow-up to the first workshop in the series held two years ago at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). It aimed to bring together researchers in academic and research institutes to share new developments, and challenges on the use of age-structure models of fish and other harvestable renewable resources. It provides an opportunity to update, review, discuss and evaluate how modelling harvestable populations based on their age-structure affects our understanding of key natural and policy issues on natural resource management.

Download the programme

dot From Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Published Papers
Optimal harvest in an age structured model with different fishing selectivity
Anders Skonhoft, Niels Vestergaard and Martin Quaas - Environmental & Resource Economics (in press)

An age structured model of a fishery is studied where two fishing fleets, or fishing agents, are targeting two different mature age classes of the fish stock. The agents are using different fishing gear with different fishing selectivity. The model includes young and old mature fish that can be harvested, in addition to an age class of immature fish. The paper describes the optimal harvesting policy under different assumptions on the objectives of the social planner and on fishing selectivity. First, biomass yield is maximized under perfect fishing selectivity, second, equilibrium profit (rent) is maximized under perfect fishing selectivity, and third, equilibrium profit is maximized under imperfect fishing selectivity. The paper provides results that differ significantly from the standard lumped parameter (also surplus production, or biomass) model.

Download the full paper

A bieconomic model of trophy hunting
Eric Naevdal, Jon Olaf Olausssen and Anders skonhoft - Ecological Economics (in press)

Trophy and big game hunting have traditionally been an activity for the elite in society. The hiring of professional white hunters to lead lengthy and luxurious shooting expeditions in East Africa for aristocrats, movie stars and business tycoons from the last part of the 19th century onwards is particularly renowned (Roosevelt 1910, Oldfield 2003). However, during the last few decades, this type of wildlife hunting has become increasingly accessible to many people
throughout the world because of growing wealth and income, increasing leisure time and greater than ever mobility. For example, nonresident hunters in Alberta pay in excess of US$10,000 in permit and guiding fees to hunt male bighorn sheep, with even higher amounts paid for hunting trophy sheep in Asia (Jorgenson et al. 1998). Another example from Africa is that in the 2000 hunting season, 3,640 trophy hunters spent 15,450 hunter-days, taking 13,310 game animals in Namibia (Humavindu and Barnes 2003). Currently, trophy hunting takes place in 23 African countries (see Lindsey et al. 2006 for an overview). Therefore, as hunting tourism and the trade in wildlife products grow, the traditional meat versus trophy aspect of wildlife exploitation has become increasingly important to resource managers in both developing and industrialized countries (Oldfield 2003, The Economist November 2006).

Download the full paper

dot From University of Bonn

Published Paper
Biodiversity measures based on species-level dissimilarities: A methodology for assessment

by Nicolas Gerber - Ecological Economics 70(12), 2275-2281

Biodiversity is widely recognized as a valuable natural asset to conserve. Yet biodiversity is often reported to be declining worldwide. Biodiversity measures can help evaluating it and conserving it, but need to be clearly defined and assessed. In this paper, I review several biodiversity measures and develop a new one, all based on a matrix of species-level dissimilarity data. The data can be used in its raw form, regardless of its origin (e.g. studies of morphological traits, DNA hybridization experiments…) or of any graphical representation. Then, I propose a two-step assessment of the measures. First, I assess them in terms of their deviation from a strict additive law determining the contribution of each species to the diversity of the set in an ideal setting. This setting refers to a case where the data exactly determines the hierarchical ordering of the species. Second, I assess the measures based on their compliance with a list of axioms. These axioms reflect basic mathematical properties regarded as desirable for diversity measures, such as their monotonicity in species and dissimilarities. Finally, I show the importance of applying the new quantitative assessment and the axiomatic approach together when selecting a dissimilarity-based diversity measure.

Download the full article


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