Tradeable property rights in pest control - will they help conserve the natural biodiversity of New Zealand?
The natural biodiversity of New Zealand is being threatened by habitat loss, fragmentation, lack of formal protection of representative, viable ecosystems and predation and competition from introduced animals and plants. It is the latter concern that is concentrated on in this project, and it is recognised that despite the over-riding importance of biodiversity conservation, there are limited funds available to the Department of Conservation to control pests that are degrading biodiversity. A more cost-effective system of pest control that is ecologically and economically more sustainable is evaluated for the practicality of introducing into the status quo. This is a system that creates tradeable property rights in pest control, where hunters competitively tender for the right to control pests within an area for which the maximum tolerable density of pests has been set by the agency paying for the control. Property right owners are paid on attainment of the conservation goal, thus incentives to pest controllers are related the values at stake. West Coast conservancy is chosen as a focus for investigating the model, and the theoretical assumptions within the model are investigated as to whether they are borne out in practice. Tradeable property rights are found to be impractical to implement at the present time, and a similar system called periodic tendering is proposed, that has the same benefits of efficiency and accountability, but is less problematic to set up at the present time. These two approaches are compared with the current system of pest control and recommendations for further research are made.... [Show full abstract]