Resource-harvester cycles caused by delayed knowledge of the harvested population state can be dampened by harvester forecasting
|Adamson, Matthew W.
Hilker, Frank M.
|CLIMATE-CHANGE; Common pool resource; Ecology; Environmental Sciences & Ecology; FISHERY; FLUCTUATIONS; HUMAN-BEHAVIOR; Knowledge transfer; MANAGEMENT; MODELS; Social-ecological system; STRATEGIES; SUSTAINABILITY; Sustainable harvesting; SYSTEMS; Time delay; Time horizon; TIME-DELAY
The monitoring of ecosystems and the spread of information concerning their state among human stakeholders is often a lengthy process. The importance of mutual feedbacks between socioeconomic and ecological dynamics is being increasingly recognised in recent studies, but it is generally assumed that the feedback from the environment is instantaneous, ignoring any delay in the spread of ecosystem knowledge and the resulting potential for system stability loss. On the other hand, human actors rarely make purely myopic socioeconomic decisions as is often assumed. Rather, they show a degree of foresight for future utility which may have an opposing, stabilising effect to any delay in knowledge. In this paper, we consider a generic resource-harvester model with delayed ecosystem knowledge and predictive behaviour by the harvesters. We show that delays in the spread of information about the resource level can destabilise the bioeconomic equilibrium in the system and induce harvesting cycles or the collapse of the resource. Sufficiently farsighted prediction by the harvesters can stabilise the system, provided the delay is not too long. However, if the time horizon of prediction is too long relative to the timescale of resource growth, prediction can be destabilising even in the absence of delay. The results imply that effective monitoring of ecosystems and fast dissemination of the results are necessary for their sustainable use and that efforts to promote appropriate foresight among ecosystem users on the personal and institutional level would be beneficial to the stability of coupled socioeconomic-ecological systems.
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checked on Mar 2, 2024