Direction not Destination

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Ecological and economic models for biodiversity conservation

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, the latest volume of Ecological Economics has a paper by Drechsler et al. entitled, 'Differences and similarities between ecological and economic models for biodiversity conservation'. They compare 60 ecological and economic models and suggest:
"Since models are a common tool of research in economics and ecology, it is often implicitly assumed that they can easily be combined. By making the differences between economic and ecological models explicit we hope to have helped to avoid miscommunication that may arise if economists and ecologists talk about “models” and believe they mean the same but in fact think of something different. The question that arises from the analysis of this paper is, of course: What are the reasons for the differences between economic and ecological models?"

The authors suggest five possible routes into the examination of this question:
  1. Different disciplinary traditions

  2. Differences in the systems analysed

  3. Differences in the perception of the system analysed

  4. Varying personal preferences of researchers

  5. Models serve different purposes

Drechsler et al. conclude:
"The general lesson from this is that economists who start thinking about developing ecological–economic models have to be prepared that they might be involved in complex modelling not typical and possibly less respected in economics. On the other hand, ecologists starting collaborations with modellers from economics have to be aware that in economics analytical tractability is much higher valued and simple models are more dominant than in ecology."

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This work by James D.A. Millington is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.


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