Ecological-economic modeling for biodiversity management: Potential, pitfalls, and prospects

Frank Wätzold, Martin Drechsler, Claire W. Armstrong, Stefan Baumgärtner, Volker Grimm, Andreas Huth, Charles Perrings, Hugh P. Possingham, Jason F. Shogren, Anders Skonhoft, Jana Verboom-Vasiljev, Christian Wissel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Ecologists and economists both use models to help develop strategies for biodiversity management. The practical use of disciplinary models, however, can be limited because ecological models tend not to address the socioeconomic dimension of biodiversity management, whereas economic models tend to neglect the ecological dimension. Given these shortcomings of disciplinary models, there is a necessity to combine ecological and economic knowledge into ecological-economic models. It is insufficient if scientists work separately in their own disciplines and combine their knowledge only when it comes to formulating management recommendations. Such an approach does not capture feedback loops between the ecological and the socioeconomic systems. Furthermore, each discipline poses the management problem in its own way and comes up with its own most appropriate solution. These disciplinary solutions, however, are likely to be so different that a combined solution considering aspects of both disciplines cannot be found. Preconditions for a successful model-based integration of ecology and economics include (1) an in-depth knowledge of the two disciplines, (2) the adequate identification and framing of the problem to be investigated, and (3) a common understanding between economists and ecologists of modeling and scale. To further advance ecological-economic modeling the development of common benchmarks, quality controls, and refereeing standards for ecological-economic models is desirable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1034-1041
Number of pages8
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • Biodiversity management
  • Conservation
  • Economics
  • Interdisciplinary research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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