Linking economic and ecological models for a marine ecosystem

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Increasingly, economists and ecologists have begun to recognize the value to public policy of combining information and results from each discipline into multidisciplinary studies. Here, we present a methodological approach that links economic and ecological analyses. We develop an economic-ecological model by merging an input-output model of a coastal economy with a model of a marine food web. We describe distinct linear system sub-models of the economy and the ecosystem, and we develop a method for linking the two. Our method extends the work of earlier researchers by incorporating an ecosystem matrix into resource multipliers, and by showing how these multipliers may be calculated. We present a numerical example for the New England region using coastal economic and marine ecological data from the region for a restricted set of industry sectors and food web trophic levels. We calculate resource multipliers for the example, and we simulate the economic impacts of changes in primary production in the ecosystem on final demands for fishery products. The results illustrate the effects of incorporating the impacts of habitat destruction and ecosystem structure on resource multipliers. Our approach can be extended to incorporate the full range of sectors in the economy and trophic levels in a linked ecosystem. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Ecological Economics