Wouldn't it be great if we were all on the southeast portion of our demand curves? Therefore, creating a market for wildlife is not fair:
It especially bothers him — and other hunters — that those with means can buy public licenses through private outlets, paying thousands of dollars to move to the head of the line. More than any state in the West, Utah has expanded hunting opportunities for the well-to-do and has begun to diminish them for those seeking permits directly from the state.
State wildlife managers recognize this, but they say their motives are grounded in animal — if not social — welfare. Utah has embraced an increasingly free-market model as a way to raise more money for conservation.
Here is how it works: the state has enticed ranchers with an allotment of vouchers for lucrative hunting licenses that they can sell for thousands of dollars as part of a private hunt on their land. Many used to complain bitterly to state officials about elk and other game eating forage meant for their cattle.
The vouchers for hunting licenses, handed out for more than 10 years now, give them ample economic incentive to nurture big game on their land and not get frustrated with ranching and sell their land to developers.
Another program, smaller in scope but much more controversial, allows private nonprofit groups to auction off a few hundred licenses to the highest bidder or run their own drawing in exchange for supporting conservation projects. State wildlife managers say that with species like elk, the system is working to produce more game for all. ...
This new approach, some say, violates a century-old American ethic, articulated by Theodore Roosevelt, himself an avid hunter, that wildlife belongs to all, and not just to those with land or wealth.
But, it is efficient. It sounds like wildlife managers in Utah have moved towards allocating scare resources to their highest valued uses with the private landowner program. It is less clear for the "more controversial" program since those revenues are being directed to things that might not be considered "conservation" by some.
My opinion is if something is not fair it is better to address fairness directly, through reallocations in the distribution of income, than my screwing up the more efficient allocation of resources in individual sectors of the economy. That way, society can directly address the benefits and costs of inequity and focus on the efficiency of projects and policies.
Subsistence hunting and fishing is an inferior good:
There’s definitely an interesting socioeconomic analysis to be done on the ways in which certain activities that were once deadly earnest attempts to gather food came, in an era of relative caloric abundance, to be luxury pastimes instead. But I’m hard-pressed to explain how Snuffy and Lukey, who never had any kind of job when times were flush, have had their lives affected by extra-Holler financial crises. Perhaps there’s less demand for chickens, Hootin’ Holler’s sole export, which means there are fewer chickens for the two old rascals to steal? More likely, “th’ economic downturn” refers not to anything that would affect us flatlanders, but rather to some apocalyptic event that severed the last tenuous economic tendril connecting Hootin’ Holler to the outside world, leaving its isolated residents with no option but to turn back to the forests and streams for sustenance. This crisis presumably happened decades ago, and so what we’re seeing here is a prequel strip showing the genesis of the Snuffy Smithiverse as we’ve come to know it.
Suppose, for a minute, that you were in charge of the global organization to preserve endangered species of rhinoceros, of which the two species most at risk of extinction are the Javan rhinoceros and the Sumatran rhinoceros.
Unfortunately, because there is a long list of other species preservation efforts that your fellow environmentalists prefer to support, your organization's resources for preserving these species are limited. So much so that dividing your limited resources between efforts to preserve both species simultaneously will not be sufficient to halt their respective declines in numbers. But, if you threw all your efforts behind preserving one of these species of rhinoceros, you might be able to make a critical difference in its future.
But which one should you choose?
The answer is you should choose to put your limited resources behind the species with the more viable population.
By that, we mean the species whose numbers have not diminished to the point where a random catastrophe, such as a hurricane or tsunami, would be capable of causing their extinction.
Choosing between the species then comes down to the numbers, the math for which has been worked out in a 2011 paper by Gopalasamy Reuben Clements, Corey J.A. Bradshaw, Barry W. Brook and William F. Laurance, describing the SAFE index, which uses a threshold population target to measure how threatened a species may be.
The Species' Ability to Forestall Extinction (SAFE) index measures the relative threat faced by various species, incorporating the best estimates of the species' total population within its known range and its Minimum Viable Population figure - the minimum population needed for it to last over the long term while sustaining its evolutionary potential, which perhaps might better be described as avoiding problems that come from excessive inbreeding within too small a population.
Our tool below is built using the math presented in the researchers' paper. ...
We found the SAFE index interesting because it appears to provide a better indication of a species' viability than the percentage of range loss measure that is often used to determine the relative threat of extinction to various species.
But what really sets it apart for us is that this method of prioritizing species recovery efforts would seem to also reflect the actual choices made by the combination of individuals, scientists, lawmakers and organizations seeking to preserve various species, which have consistently put more funding to work in support of preserving species that are only "threatened" as compared to those that are "endangered".
The SAFE index for economists at Appstate is -0.03.
Sweeping new rules took effect in February to restrict beach driving at the national seashore, which covers 65 shoreline miles on three barrier islands from south of Nags Head to Ocracoke. The rules provide safeguards for federally protected birds and turtles, and they set aside long stretches of shoreline for human visitors who want to get away from vehicles.
Permits are now being required for the first time: $50 for a week of beach driving, $120 for a calendar year. In the first five months, drivers have paid more than $1 million in fees for more than 14,000 beach permits.
Off-road vehicles are banned now from miles of Outer Banks beaches where they were allowed in the past. The spots most popular with surfers and surf casters, swimmers and shell collectors are off-limits for all or much of the year – both for vehicles and for people on foot. They include the broad spits where these narrow islands end at inlets, and the long Cape Point elbow that bends around the spiral-striped Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
Another reason is rationing use to those with the highest value for the activity. Here is what I said on January 30:
User fees can be used to effectively regulate use and raise revenue. Only those users who are not willing or able to pay a relatively small fee are excluded. Raising the fee during environmentally sensitive periods should be a more efficient policy that full beach closure.
You always hear that you are not supposed to climb a tree when a bear is chasing you (you are not supposed to run either, but somehow, Liz and Mike, after splitting up, have regrouped and found the same easily climbable dead tree). However, based on some Google, I've learned that black bears are great climbers but grizzlies, not so much. So maybe Liz and Mike are going to be OK (cupcake*). And we've also learned that Mike dropped the gun so that Mark Trail could shoot the bear.
*Note: My daughter asked me to write "cupcake" here.
Ohio Department of Agriculture officials have confirmed the presence of emerald ash borer in Belmont, Crawford, Knox and Madison counties.
Residents are being urged to use caution when transporting firewood to help protect against the artificial spread of this and other insect pests.
In June of 2011, the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s emerald ash borer quarantine was officially rescinded because the pest has been found throughout most of the state, including Wayne National Forest.
You can't outrun a bear. They have been clocked at speeds up to 35 mph, and like dogs, they will chase fleeing animals. Bears often make bluff charges, sometimes to within 10 feet of their adversary, without making contact. Continue waving your arms and talking to the bear. If the bear gets too close, raise your voice and be more aggressive. Bang pots and pans. Use noisemakers. Never imitate bear sounds or make a high-pitched squeal.
It actually makes me feel kind of bad for Mark Trail, because on most days his “Hmm, I’m being pursued by armed killers, let’s wake up this hibernating grizzly bear, that can only result in positive outcomes” plan would be the most deranged and hilarious thing on the comics page. But not today, my friend. Not today.
The comment doesn't totally make sense as it is out of context, the curmudgeon finds other strips more ridiculous. But this strip makes me almost want to start reading Mark Trail on a daily basis.
For those of you who might wail that this post is off-topic ... check out this classic grizzly bear economics article:
DS Brookshire, LS Eubanks and A Randall, "Estimating option prices and existence values for wildlife resources," Land Economics, 1983 [JSTOR]
I read that paper n+1 times while working on my dissertation. Google Scholar finds 297 citations.
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