A Tale of Two Diversities
Charles Figuieres () and
Ecological Economics, 2019, vol. 159, issue C, 133-147
Efficient biodiversity management strategies aim to allocate conservation efforts so as to maximize diversity in ecological systems. Toward this end, defining a diversity criterion is an important but challenging task, as several different indices can be used as biodiversity measures. This paper elicits and compares two criteria for biodiversity conservation based on indices stemming from different disciplines: Weitzman's index in economics and Rao's index in ecology. These indices use different approaches to combine information about measures of (1) the probability distributions of the species that are present in an ecosystem (i.e. survival probabilities) and (2) the degree of dissimilarity between these species. As an important step toward in situ conservation criteria, we add to these elements information about (3) the ecological interactions that take place between species. Considering a simple three-species ecosystem, we show that criterion choice has palpable policy implications, as it can sometimes lead to divergent management recommendations. We disentangle the roles played by elements (1), (2) and (3) in the ranking of outcomes, which allows us to highlight several specificities of the two criteria. An important result is that, other things being equal, Weitzman's in situ ranking tends to favor robust species that are least concerned with extinction, while Rao's in situ ranking generally gives priority to more vulnerable species that are closer to extinction.
Keywords: Biodiversity indices; Conservation management strategy; Ecological interactions; Public policy; Species prioritization criteria (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C6 Q5 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only
Working Paper: A tale of two diversities (2019)
Working Paper: A Tale of Two Diversities (2015)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:159:y:2019:i:c:p:133-147
Access Statistics for this article
Ecological Economics is currently edited by C. J. Cleveland
More articles in Ecological Economics from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Dana Niculescu ().