Ecological-Economic Modelling

Most of the world's ecosystems are affected by human activities, be it indirectly e.g. through human-induced climate change or directly e.g. through land clearing and harvesting of resources. The conservation of biodiversity and the maintenance of ecosystem services therefore have an ecological as well as an economic dimension. Deriving strategies to conserve biodiversity and use the resources of ecosystems in a sustainable manner requires the integrated consideration of both these dimensions.

ecoTRADE results
Results from the EcoTRADE project (see project link below). To the left: Snapshot of the multiplayer online game developed to demonstrate the functioning of a market for tradable land-use permits. To the right: Agent-based simulation of a permit market. Depending on the economic dynamics and market rules different spatio-temporal land-use patterns emerge.
Ecological-economic modelling has been proven to be an effective method for integrating ecology and economics.
phase diagram
Phase diagram (each dot represent a point in time) of the spatio-temporal dynamics in a landscape managed for a mobile deer population (see publication Touza et al. (2013) below). The dynamics depend on whether the agents are interested in hunting or in biodiversity conservation.
At the Department of Ecological Modelling it is especially applied to design cost-effective market-based instruments for the conservation of biodiversity, such as payments for environmental measures and tradable land use permits. Other topics of research are resource management (see also link to social-ecological modelling below) and energy policy. A multitude of methods is used such as ecological and economic modelling, numerical optimisation and agent-based modelling. The research is carried out in collaboration with economists from the Department of Economics at the UFZ and from other institutions. Sometimes the Department of Ecological Modelling itself hosts economic modellers.

Selected Publications

  • Surun, C., Drechsler, M., (2018):
    Effectiveness of tradable permits for the conservation of metacommunities with two competing species
    Ecol. Econ. 147 , 189 - 196
    full text (url)
  • Drechsler, M., (2017):
    Performance of input- and output-based payments for the conservation of mobile species
    Ecol. Econ. 134 , 49 - 56
    full text (url)
  • Wätzold, F., Drechsler, M., Johst, K., Mewes, M., Sturm, A., (2016):
    A novel, spatiotemporally explicit ecological-economic modeling procedure for the design of cost-effective agri-environment schemes to conserve biodiversity
    Am. J. Agr. Econ. 98 (2), 489 - 512
    full text (url)
  • Touza, J., Drechsler, M., Smart, J.C.R., Termansen, M., (2013):
    Emergence of cooperative behaviours in the management of mobile ecological resources
    Environ. Modell. Softw. 45 , 52 - 63
    full text (url)
  • Drechsler, M., Meyerhoff, J., Ohl, C., (2012):
    The effect of feed-in tariffs on the production cost and the landscape externalities of wind power generation in West Saxony, Germany
    Energy Policy 48 , 730 - 736
    full text (url)
  • Drechsler, M., (2011):
    Trade-offs in the design of cost-effective habitat networks when conservation costs are variable in space and time
    Biol. Conserv. 144 (1), 479 - 489
    full text (url)