Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 43–58 | Cite as

Modeling the Economics of Biodiversity and Environmental Heterogeneity

  • William Brock
  • Ann Kinzig
  • Charles PerringsEmail author


It has long been recognized that major drivers of biodiversity loss include both the harvest of wild species and the conversion of habitat for productive purposes. Land that is converted may or may not be lost as habitat for many species. In some cases, monoculture production for example, land conversion reduces the number niches and hence the level of biodiversity. In other cases, it has the opposite effect. We address the problem of anthropogenic biodiversity change due to the effects of both harvest rates and land use decisions on landscape heterogeneity. If the optimal structure of the landscape is extremely homogeneous, forces of competitive exclusion will lead to a single surviving species. If it is extremely heterogeneous, multiple species will coexist, with each species exclusively dominating the patch type to which it is best suited. Where changes in biodiversity due to changes in landscape heterogeneity are not taken into account in land use decisions, they are external effects of those decisions. We identify measures of these effects.


Biodiversity Environmental heterogeneity Externality 

JEL Classification



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.School of Life SciencesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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