For successful ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation, in addition to ecological and evolutionary processes, we need to consider social and economic influences on the management target. Here, we introduce several theoretical models that address economic and social aspects of the human society which are closely related to ecosystem management. The first model analyzes economic decisions on the use of the common fishing ground in Jeju Island, Korea, by traditional divers and tourists. We observe that the way the number of tourists increases with the availability of resources strongly influences how benefits are distributed among fishing ground stakeholders. The second model discusses activities that raise public awareness about biodiversity, which will help maintain public support for conservation in the future. Based on control theory, we derive the optimal investment in these activities to maximize the long-term quality of the conservation target. The third model analyzes punishment scheme as a mechanism to enforce people to follow the regulation on the use of common resource. An important aspect of successful management is "graduated punishment", in which the severity of the punishment applied to deviators gradually increases with the amount of harm caused by deviation from the rule. We show that graduated punishment is the most efficient way to ensure cooperation when evaluation errors are unavoidable and when people are heterogeneous with respect to the sensitivity to utility differences. We conclude that socio-economic aspects related to ecosystem management are promising research foci of theoretical ecology.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics