Recent political developments and academic debate indicate that future political commitment to the protection of natural resources is uncertain. This political uncertainty is particularly problematic when the danger of irreversible damage such as the extinction of species looms. Accordingly, policies are needed which can ward off such damage. This paper analyses a particular policy regarding a situation where the survival of an endangered species depends on certain types of biodiversity-enhancing land-use measures being carried out regularly, yet due to uncertain political commitment the periodical availability of a budget to finance these measures is not guaranteed. To insure against future underfunding for conservation, a fund is established which allows money to be saved for conservation in later periods. To maximise the long-term survival of the endangered species, it has to be decided in each period whether to spend the available money now or to allocate it to the fund for future use. The paper provides an ecological-economic model for this dynamic optimisation problem.
Species conservation ecological-economic modelling political uncertainty environmental policy