This paper is concerned with the cost-effective allocation of habitat for endangered species under spatio-temporally heterogeneous economic development. To address the dynamic dimension of the problem we consider tradable development rights (TDR) as the instrument of choice. A particular challenge in applying TDR is that the ecological benefit of an individual habitat patch depends on its spatial relationship with other habitats and thus is an emergent rather than a fixed property. We analyse the spatial and temporal dynamics of habitats in a region under a TDR market that takes spatial interaction of habitats explicitly into account. We show that depending on the levels of spatial interaction and cost heterogeneity, two different outcomes may emerge: an "ordered" structure where habitats are clustered in space and stable over time, and a "disordered" structure where habitats are scattered in space and subject to high turnover of destruction and recreation.
ecological-economic model cost heterogeneity phase transition spatial interaction tradable development rights