Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 1–22

Optimal Dynamic Control of Visitors and Endangered Species in a National Park

  • Birgit Bednar-Friedl
  • Doris A. Behrens
  • Michael Getzner

DOI: 10.1007/s10640-011-9515-5

Cite this article as:
Bednar-Friedl, B., Behrens, D.A. & Getzner, M. Environ Resource Econ (2012) 52: 1. doi:10.1007/s10640-011-9515-5


To enable visitors to enjoy nature while protecting endangered species is the key challenge for national parks around the world. In our optimal dynamic control model, a park management maximizes tourism revenues and conservation benefits net of control costs by choosing optimal dynamic levels of conservation and visitor management. The optimization is constrained by an extended food chain model representing species-habitat-visitor interactions. We illustrate for a game bird in an Alpine national park that ecotourism can indeed lead to ecosystem degradation when the park management is more concerned about increasing tourism revenues than about achieving the conservation target and if the endangered species is unknown to most visitors. If, however, the park management is well aware of the potentially negative consequences of ecotourism and hence cares for species conservation, limited ecotourism can provide funding for species conservation which ensures population levels above the uncontrolled steady state.


Bioeconomic model Financing and managing national parks Ecotourism Optimal dynamic control Species conservation 

JEL Classification

C61 Q26 Q28 Q57 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Birgit Bednar-Friedl
    • 1
    • 2
  • Doris A. Behrens
    • 3
    • 4
  • Michael Getzner
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of GrazGrazAustria
  2. 2.Wegener Center for Climate and Global ChangeUniversity of GrazGrazAustria
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsUniversity of KlagenfurtKlagenfurtAustria
  4. 4.Department of Mathematical Methods in EconomicsVienna University of TechnologyViennaAustria
  5. 5.Department of Public Finance and Infrastructure PolicyVienna University of TechnologyViennaAustria

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