The Swedish carnivore policy goal for the four large carnivores – wolverine ( Gulo gulo ), wolf ( Canis lupus ), brown bear ( Ursus arctos ) and lynx ( Lynx lynx ) – is to ensure a minimum viable population on a long-term basis. To reach this goal the policy restricts population regulation activities, like hunting (prohibited for wolverine and wolf and restricted for brown bear and lynx) in Sweden. For owners of semi-domesticated (i.e. reindeer), and domesticated (livestock) animals this policy and the existence of individuals of these four species results in externalities associated with predation. This paper presents econometric estimates of the predation and the social costs for these four species, based on ecological models of functional response. The data on costs is based on compensation provided to livestock owners by the Swedish government. The paper also applies these econometric estimates to predict the social cost per species when the population goals of the Swedish carnivore policy are reached. Based on out our model the wolverine and the lynx will impose the highest marginal, as well as total costs on society, given the current policy goals. The wolf is an efficient predator, but due to its geographical distribution in Sweden, its social costs are less than anticipated. The brown bear is largely omnivorous, thus resulting in relatively low social costs.
Ecological Economics – Elsevier
Published: Dec 1, 2008
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