Edited by Henk Folmer, H. Landis Gabel, Shelby Gerking and Adam Rose
10. Ecosystems as lotteries Thomas D. Crocker and Jason F. Shogren 1 INTRODUCTION The connections and conﬂicts among private land uses, collective environmental protocols, and ecosystem geographies are much talked about, and yet few studies have explored their interaction. This chapter frames this nexus of private action, collective constraints, and ecosystem services by depicting ecosystems as lotteries. Ecosystem lotteries reﬂect our view that the odds and outcomes of good/bad states of nature are in part determined by private choices collectively constrained by environmental protocols deﬁned by outside experts. Understanding the uncertainties and risk embedded in the private–collective–ecosystem nexus is crucial for more effective environmental policy. To see why, follow our thread of logic. Major private land uses include the production of timber, food, minerals, housing space and other extractive, ecosystem-altering activities. Governments worry about how these activities might affect the odds that private land will continue to provide amenity and life support services to society. Perceived tensions between private interests in extractive activities and collective interests in maintaining ecosystem services have spawned a myriad of public regulatory agencies and collective protocols. Collective protocols deﬁne a new set of constraints on private land use that serve either to take rents from or give rents to private land. New protocols institutionalize a public policy reorientation toward the risks and beneﬁts of preservation (see, for example, Shogren, 1998a, on ‘The West’ in the United States), an uncertain and frequently contested reorientation often justiﬁed by vague...
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