The Bioeconomics of the Spatial Distribution
of an Endangered Species - The Case of the
Swedish Wolf Population
Mattias Boman, Göran Bostedt and Jens Persson
Conservation of endangered species often entails signficant costs, and from a social perspective many species can be characterized as both environmental "bads" and environmental "goods". This paper concerns the management of one such species, the Swedish wolf (Canis lupus). The fact that the wolf is a migratory species causes specific problems for the social planner. The goal for the social planner is to choose a harvesting vector for the wolf population, such that the discounted stream of net benefits from the populations in different geographical regions is maximized. The spatial dimension is involved by realizing that the wolf popualtion in each sub-region is dependent on the migration (apart from births and deaths). The solution to the social plannerís problem is shown to be a modification of the classical rule of renewable resource exploitation, caused by migration between sub-regions. Empirically, this problem is solved by dividing Sweden into 13 different geographical sub-regions, and accounting for existence values, harvesting benefits, and predation costs of the wolf population in each sub-region. Results show that the geographical distribution, in absolute numbers, is very sensitive to different assumptions regarding existence values and harvesting benefits. However, the relative distribution of wolves across the country is less sensitive to these assumptions.
Keywords: Bioeconomics, population, spatial, geographical, distribution, immigration, emigration, existence value, use value, wolf, harvesting.