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Environ Manage. 2006 Jul;38(1):48-61.

Socially strategic ecological restoration: a game-theoretic analysis [corrected].

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  • 1Department of Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California 95064, USA.

Erratum in

  • Environ Manage. 2006 Jul;38(1):161.


Major transitions in a multiple-use or mosaic landscape often lead to frictions among new and existing users. In this article, we consider the problem of ecological restoration within a mosaic landscape in which restoration activities elicit feedbacks from individuals and groups that are harmed by restoration outcomes. Using game theory, we identify three potential outcomes ranked by the extent of restoration of ecosystem services and processes: nonstrategic, noncooperative strategic equilibrium, and cooperative bargaining solution. We identify conditions under which additional restoration can decrease the overall flow of ecosystem services and processes. A "strategic restorationist" will cease new restoration activities when the net effect of defensive response moves by farmers offsets gains. Imperfect information regarding expected payoffs to farmers can lead to inefficient overshooting or undershooting the optimal scale, geographical positioning, and form of restoration. Gains to all parties from cooperation might exist. As a case study and to aid model design, we consider restoration activities on California's upper Sacramento River.

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