Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 203–228 | Cite as

Large Scale Marine Protected Areas for Biodiversity Conservation Along a Linear Gradient: Cooperation, Strategic Behavior or Conservation Autarky?

  • Maarten J. Punt
  • Hans-Peter Weikard
  • Ekko C. van Ierland
  • Jan H. Stel
Open Access


In this paper we investigate effects of overlap in species between ecosystems along a linear gradient on the location of marine protected areas (MPAs) under full cooperation, strategic behavior and conservation autarky. Compared to the full cooperation outcome, both strategic behavior and conservation autarky lead to under-investment in biodiversity protection. Under strategic behavior, however, we observe the additional problem of “location leakage” i.e. countries invest less in species protected by others. Conservation autarky eliminates location leakage; in ecosystems with partly overlapping species compositions at country borders it even induces MPAs that are too large from a global perspective. We also find that, in our setting of a linear gradient without migrating species, countries focus their conservation efforts on species unique to their own country and that these species are relatively well protected compared to common species.


Bioeconomic modeling Biodiversity conservation Game theory Marine protected areas Marine reserves Reserve site selection Linear setting 



Marine protected area


Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maarten J. Punt
    • 1
  • Hans-Peter Weikard
    • 2
  • Ekko C. van Ierland
    • 2
  • Jan H. Stel
    • 3
  1. 1.Agricultural and Food Economics Chair Group, Center of Life and Food Sciences WeihenstephanTechnische Universität MünchenFreisingGermany
  2. 2.Environmental Economics and Natural Resource GroupWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.International Centre for Integrated Assessment and Sustainable Development (ICIS)Maastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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