Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Resource Economics

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Thaer-Institute | Resource Economics | Research challenges | Problem dimensions | Interference with Fish Stocks, Wildlife, and Forests

Interference with Fish Stocks, Wildlife, and Forests

Fish, forest and wildlife resources and their habitats play a major role in global carbon cycle and preservation of biodiversity. These resources are under massive exploitation pressure because of their extractive characteristics constituting common pool goods. Research in the field of institutional economics indicates sustainable appropriation, use and conservation not only by central government control but also by variety and complexity of multilevel formal and informal institutions of manifold governance structures (Gibson et al. 2000; Ostrom 1999, 2005; Hagedorn 2002, 2008; Bromley 2009).

Nevertheless, world´s fish, forest and wildlife resources are currently experiencing deep degradation. Up to 25% of deep sea fish species suffer from a high level of depletion and 52% are almost below an acceptable level (FAO 2007). Furthermore, up to 80% of fish species of economic interest are overfished (FAO 2007). In inland waters, one of the most serious threats for wild freshwater species are user demand driven stocking measures with hatchery-bred fish potentially resulting in irreversible repercussions for aquatic biodiversity (Eby 2006).

Forest resources are experiencing great challenges due to deforestation and forest degradation. The conversion of tropical forest into agricultural land is a major driver of forest loss (FAO 2010). National and international efforts within the last few decades to reduce forest loss –while having some impact – have however failed to substantially slow down the loss of the world´s forests (Pfaff et al. 2010). Around 13 million hectares of forest were converted to other uses or disappeared through natural causes each year in the last decade (FAO 2010).

In the European area, game is strongly influenced by habitat conditions shaped through heterogeneous user demands and preferences, causing simultaneously wildlife damage. In Germany, the so-called hunting associations manage the problem of this negative external effect (Rauchenecker 2010). In many parts of Africa and Asia, the most immediate threat to wildlife are unsustainable hunting and trading in wildlife and wildlife products, and human-wildlife conflict (FAO 2007). A challenge for policy-makers is to balance conservation of wildlife resources with the livelihood requirements of local populations (FAO 2007). Because of growing human access to wildlife habitat, game changes social and reproduction behaviour. These factors influence degree and level of wildlife damage.

This problem dimension has been addressed in the following research projects:

    Devolution of Forest Management in Vietnam
    Adaptive Dynamics and Management of Coupled Social-Ecological Systems Exemplified by Recreational Fisheries
Schlüter, Maja Mechanisms of resilience in coupled social-ecological systems - examples from irrigation and fisheries

Arauz Torres, Mario Alberto

Institutional Change in Natural Resource Management: a case study regarding the evolution of the forest policy in Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua

Daedlow, Katrin

Adaptive Governance in Social-ecological Systems: Lessons from German recreational fisheries (ADAPTFISH-2)

Keutmann, Sarah The Role of Institutional Change for the Sustainable Cultivation of Energy Crops – The case of agro-wood production in Brandenburg, Germany

Nguyen, Minh Dao

Institutional and Policy Change in Forestry: Implications for sustainable forest management and sustainable livelihoods for forest-based rural communities in upland areas: A case study in Son La province, Vietnam

Rauchenecker, Katharina (2010)

Institutional Change in Hunting and Game Management – The case of German hunting associations. Institutional Change in Agriculture and Natural Resources, Vol. 42. Aachen: Shaker

Nguyen, Tan Quang (2004)

What Benefits and for Whom? Effects of devolution of forest management in Dak Lak, Vietnam. Institutional Change in Agriculture and Natural Resources, Vol. 21. Aachen: Shaker

Than, Tran Ngoc (2004)

From Legal Acts to Village Institutions and Forest Use Practices: Effects of devolution in the central highlands of Vietnam. Institutional Change in Agriculture and Natural Resources, Vol. 27. Aachen: Shaker


Bromley, Daniel W. (2009). Abdicating Responsibility: the Deceits of Fisheries Policy. Fisheries 34 (6):280-290.

Eby, L. A.; Roach W. J.; Crowder, L. B.; Stanford, J. A. (2006) Effects of Stocking-Up Freshwater Food Webs. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 21(10):576-584.

FAO (2007). The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2006. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Rome.

FAO (2007). State of the World`s Forests. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Rome.

FAO (2010). Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010, Main Report. FAO Forestry Paper 163. Rome.

Gibson, C., McKean, M., Ostrom, E. (2000). People and Forest: Communities, Institutions and Forest. Massachusetts, USA. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Global Witness (2007). Independent Forest Monitoring in Nicaragua: Second Summary Report of Activities. Washington DC, USA. Global Witness Publishing Inc.

Hagedorn, Konrad (2008). Particular Requirements for Institutional Analysis in Nature-Related Sectors. European Review of Agricultural Economics 35 (3), 357-384.

Hagedorn, Konrad; Arzt, Katja and Peters, Ursula (2002). Institutional Arrangements for En¬vironmental Co-operatives: A conceptual Framework. Environmental and Institutional Change. In: Hagedorn, Konrad (ed.). Environmental Cooperation and Institutional Change. Theories and Policies for European Agriculture. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 3 25.

Ostrom, Elinor. (2000). Reformulating the Commons. Swiss Political Science Review 6(1), 29-52.

Ostrom, Elinor (2005). Understanding Institutional Diversity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Pfaff, A.; Sills, E.; Amacher, G.; Coren, M.; Lawlor, K.; Streck., C. (2010). Policy Impacts on Deforestation. Lessons Learned from Past Experiences to Inform New Initiatives. Nicholas Institute Report, Duke University. NI R 10-02

Katharina Rauchenecker (2010). Institutioneller Wandel im Bereich Jagd und Wildtiermanagement – Das Beispiel der Jagdgenossenschaften. Institutional Change in Agricultural and Natural Resources, Vol. 42. Aachen: Shaker.