On trade, land-use, and biodiversity

Stephen Polasky, Christopher Costello, Carol McAusland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)911-925
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Environmental Economics and Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2004

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation
  • Endemism
  • Specialization
  • Species-area curve


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