Paradox of nutrient removal in coupled socioeconomic and ecological dynamics for lake water pollution

Yoh Iwasa, Yukari Suzuki-Ohno, Hiroyuki Yokomizo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


We study coupled socioeconomical and ecological dynamics for lake water pollution. Players choose between cooperative (but costly) option and economical option, and their decision is affected by the fraction of cooperators in the community and by the importance of water pollution problem. When an opportunity for choice arrives, players take the option with the higher utility (best response dynamics). This social dynamics is coupled with the dynamics of lake water pollution. First, oscillation of large amplitude is generated if social change occurs faster than ecosystem responses. Second, the model can show "paradox of nutrient removal". If phosphorus is removed more effectively either from the inflow or from the lake water, the pollution level may increase (rather than decrease) due to the decline in people's willingness to cooperate. Third, we compare the effectiveness of alternative methods in improving water quality: to reduce the cooperation cost by subsidy, to enhance people's concern to water pollution problem, and to promote the conformity among people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages10
JournalTheoretical Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Ecological Modelling


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