We combine a simple trade model with a species-area curve to derive the effect of trade on biodiversity conservation. Trade causes specialization in production that drives specialization in ecosystems and their associated biodiversity. When trading partners contain similar species in autarky, trade has little effect on global biodiversity but lowers local biodiversity. On the other hand, with high endemism, specialization causes significant declines in both local and global biodiversity. If preferences for biodiversity conservation are sufficiently high, overall utility may decline with a move toward free trade unless corrective conservation policy is instituted.
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- Species-area curve