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Sustaining Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functions

Economic Issues

Clement A. Tisdell

This innovative book identifies socio-economic processes which transform the stock of genetic resources and ecosystems and discusses sustainability issues raised by variations in this stock. It focuses subsequently on the socio-economics of the conservation and change in the stock of human developed germplasm and ecosystems. Particular attention is given to crops, livestock, GMOs, reduced economic value due to biological erosion, alternative agroecosystems, and property rights in germplasm. The book concludes with an exploration of the economic topics dealing with changes in the stock of wild germplasm and natural ecosystems, and discusses the associated valuation problems.
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Chapter 13: Property rights in non-captive wildlife and biodiversity conservation

Clement A. Tisdell


In order to reduce the rate of human induced biodiversity loss of wild species, it has become increasingly important to stem this loss on private land. Some writers believe that granting landholders commercial property rights in wildlife will be effective in dealing with this matter and will result in the preservation of biodiversity. This chapter explores this view using economic theory. In doing so, it takes into account the total economic valuation concept. While the granting of commercial property rights is found to be effective for conserving some species, it is predicted to be a complete failure as a means of conserving other species. Furthermore, its potential for success in different regions of the world varies. Here, particular attention is given to the economics of utilization and conservation of non-captive fugitive (or mobile) wildlife.

Considerable concern has been expressed in recent decades about continuing human induced biodiversity loss in the wild (May et al., 1995; Ehrlich, 1995) as well as a loss of genetic diversity in domesticated and cultivated species (Tisdell, 2003a; Tisdell, 2014; see also Chapters 5 and 6 of this book). Several factors have contributed to human induced biodiversity decline of non-captive biota. These factors include appropriation of wildlife habitats by humans, and their alterations to more productively serve human economic goals (Swanson, 1994a; 1994b; 1995), competition of humans with other species for food resources and their other means of subsistence (for example, harvesting of animals or plants by humans at the lower end...

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