Optimal harvesting in the presence of predation: An age-structured modelling approach
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonJournal of Environmental Management. 2020, 277 . 10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.111341
Predation of wildlife and livestock by large carnivores takes place within many ecological and institutional settings. In this paper, moose predation by wolves is studied within a Norwegian institutional setting where the landowners obtain the moose harvesting value and where the wolf population is strictly controlled by the wildlife authorities. An age-structured model consisting of four categories of the moose population (calves, yearlings and adult females and males) is formulated, and both maximum yield (MY) and maximum economic yield (MEY) harvesting are studied. We find that the direct effect of higher predation pressure on an age-sex category works in the direction of higher harvesting pressure of that group. However, this direct effect is accompanied by indirect effects working through the stock abundance of all age-sex groups, and the net effect is ambiguous. In the numerical analysis, it is shown that harvest of the adult categories typically will be the optimal strategy, irrespective of the fact that calves are the main target of the wolves.