chapt 18 12_25_07_nocomments

chapt 18 12_25_07_nocomments - 18 Renewable Resource...

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1 18. Renewable Resource Management Renewable resources have always played a role in human well-being, as we grow crops and forests and manage animal populations for food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and other purposes. While people have domesticated many varieties and created new ones, we have also depleted the populations of many species, including many driven to extinction. Why do we drive some species to extinction? How should we manage renewable resources to provide benefits to present and future generations? This chapter will examine The dynamics of renewable resources: how populations of these species change in response to human interventions Exploitation of renewable resources when harvest is unrestricted The principles underlying efficient renewable resource management Methods to restrict access to renewable resources Whether open access and efficient management may lead to extinction of a species. Fishing and Fisheries Dynamics in the North Sea People have been fishing for millenia, perhaps as far back as 10,000 years ago. In many parts of the world, fishing provides a major source of protein for diets. Eating fish provides other health benefits as well; saltwater fish especially are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. Commercial and sport fishing are both large industries in many coastal and riverine areas. Between population increases and increased understanding of the health benefits of fish, the demand for fish is very high. Why, then, is the supply so low and dropping?
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2 In most markets, when the demand for a good increases, the producing industry expands, either through increased production or through new entrants. This feedback between demand and supply keeps prices low and quantities at equilibrium levels, even when conditions change. In the nonrenewable resources world, this feedback cannot work as well, since the stock of the resource is finite. Renewable resources fall in between manufactured goods and nonrenewable resources. Unlike nonrenewable resources, of course, renewable resources can reproduce themselves. Unlike manufactured goods, though, the reproduction rate of renewable resources is determined by biology, not by human activity. Understanding renewable resource dynamics requires some population ecology: how a species grows. The stock of a resource is the amount of the resource (either population or volume, depending on the resource); the growth of the resource is the change in the stock in a defined period of time, usually a year. Population ecologists typically argue that that, if there is no harvesting, the growth of the stock depends on the size of the stock. For instance, if there are very few fish, there are few fish to reproduce; the growth will be low. As the population expands, growth increases, since more fish can produce more baby fish. As the population gets large enough, though, the fish may have to compete among themselves for food and other resources; population growth may not be able to
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This note was uploaded on 03/03/2009 for the course ECON 370 taught by Professor Helfand during the Winter '08 term at University of Michigan.

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chapt 18 12_25_07_nocomments - 18 Renewable Resource...

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