Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Applied Economics

Committee Chair(s)

Reza Oladi


Reza Oladi


Arthur Caplan


Eric Edwards


John Gilbert


Ryan Bosworth


This dissertation explores how natural ecosystem can be integrated with economic system through two case studies of multiple species interactions, or predator-prey relations. By the inclusion of biological, ecological and economic aspects, the integrated approaches aim at more clearly understanding of how regional ecosystem and economy interact with each other, given threats of resource extinction and environmental shock. I also explain strategies and policy regimes that can be considered to achieve efficient and sustainable ecosystem management in those circumstances.

The first case study focuses on a predator-prey relation in the Pacific Ocean between the United States and Canada, where endangered/threatened predators feed primarily on commercially valuable species as prey. Accounting for the importance of those predators as critical natural resources for whale watching industry, this case study synthesizes the species biological and the regional economic systems, and analyzes possible management strategies for both ecosystem conservation and sustainable economic growth.

A long-term drought and fragmented management has been one of the critical issues in the Great Salt Lake (GSL) ecosystem that is linked with its regional economy in Utah. For this issue, the second case study builds an integrated model for describing how the lakes main natural resources, such as water, brine shrimp, and migratory birds, are related to primary industries in the region including agriculture, mining, fishery, and recreation. With the model framework, the study presents how the prolonged drought affects both the GSL ecosystem and its rigional economy, and suggests economic management strategies for the lakes ecosystem recovery in the presence of drought.



Included in

Economics Commons