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Abstract

Increasing human interference with natural systems causes us to re-think our perception of wildlife species and the economic choices society makes with regards to their management. Accordingly, we generalize existing 'bioeconomic' models by proposing an economically-based classification of species. The theoretical model is applied to the case of African elephant management. We demonstrate that the classification of the steady state population of a species depends on both species' density and economic factors. Our main results are threefold. First, we demonstrate the classification-dependent possibility of multiple equilibria and perverse comparative statics for multi-use species. Second, upon comparing the optimal stock of a multi-use species to the stock under an open access regime, we find that the ranking in terms of abundance is ambiguous. Finally, and consistent with existing literature on resource management in a second-best world, our case study supports the idea that trade measures have ambiguous effects on wildlife abundance under open access.

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