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Keywords:

  • Bioeconomic modeling;
  • biofuels;
  • climate change;
  • prairie pothole region;
  • wetland protection;
  • wildlife management

Abstract We extend an earlier bioeconomic model of optimal duck harvest and wetland retention in the Prairie Pothole Region of Western Canada to include cropping decisions. Instead of a single state equation, the model has two state equations representing the population dynamics of ducks and the amount of wetlands. We use the model to estimate the impact of climate change on wetlands and waterfowl, including direct climate effects as well as land use change due to biofuel policies aimed at mitigating climate change. The model predicts that climate change will reduce wetlands by 37–56% from historic levels. Land use change due to biofuel policies is expected to reduce wetlands by between 35% and 45% from historic levels, whereas direct climate effects will range from a reduction of 2–11%, depending on the future climate scenario. This result indicates that models that neglect the effect of land use changes underestimate the effect of climate change on wetlands. Further, wetlands loss is geographically heterogeneous, with losses being the largest in Saskatchewan.