Nonspatial and spatial models in bioeconomics

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Beginning in the 1960s, ecologists, mathematicians, and economists started developing a class of models, which today are referred to as bioeconomic models. These early models started with a difference or differential equation describing the dynamics of a biological resource. To this equation one might add a second difference or differential equation describing the dynamics of "harvesting effort." Alternatively, one could formulate a dynamic optimization problem seeking to maximize discounted net benefit. These models provided important insights into the tragedy of the commons and policies that might promote optimal management. By the 1970s, more complex models were developed incorporating multispecies interactions, age-structured populations, and models with stochastic growth. In the late 1990s, spatial bioeconomic models were developed in recognition of the importance of location when managing biological resources. The objectives of this survey are to: (i) review some of the early models in bioeconomics, (ii) present some of the key spatial models in bioeconomics that have been used to assess the value of marine (no-take) reserves, and (iii) speculate on the direction of future research in spatial bioeconomics. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.






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Conrad, JM, and MD Smith (2012). Nonspatial and spatial models in bioeconomics. Natural Resource Modeling, 25(1). pp. 52–92. 10.1111/j.1939-7445.2011.00102.x Retrieved from

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Martin D. Smith

George M. Woodwell Distinguished Professor of Environmental Economics

Smith studies the economics of the oceans, including fisheries, marine ecosystems, seafood markets, and coastal climate adaptation. He has written on a range of policy-relevant topics, including economics of marine reserves, seasonal closures in fisheries, ecosystem-based management, catch shares, nutrient pollution, aquaculture, genetically modified foods, the global seafood trade, organic agriculture, coastal property markets, and coastal responses to climate change. He is best known for identifying unintended consequences of marine and coastal policies that ignore human behavioral feedbacks. Smith’s methodological interests span micro-econometrics, optimal control theory, time series analysis, and numerical modeling of coupled human-natural systems. Smith’s published work appears in The American Economic Review, Nature, Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, the Review of Economics and Statistics, and a number of other scholarly journals that span environmental economics, fisheries science, marine policy, ecology, and the geo-sciences. Smith has received national and international awards, including the Quality of Research Discovery from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, Outstanding Article in Marine Resource Economics, and an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, and the Research Council of Norway. Smith has served as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Marine Resource Economics, Co-Editor of the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, and Co-Editor of the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. He served as a member of the Scientific and Statistical Committee of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and currently serves on the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies.

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