Relationship between biodiversity and agricultural production

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17 June 2019

The intensification of agriculture is one of the main causes of biodiversity loss. We model the interdependent relationship between agriculture and wild biodiversity providing regulating services to agriculture on farmed land. We suppose that while agriculture has a negative impact on wild biodiversity, the latter can increase agricultural production. Farmers act as myopic agents, who maximize their instantaneous profit without considering the negative effects of their practice on the evolution of biodiversity. Two unexpected results arise (a) a tax on inputs can have a positive effect on yield since it can be considered as a social signal helping farmers to avoid myopic behavior concerning the positive effect of biodiversity on yield; (b) increasing biodiversity productivity, a proposal of ecological intensification, affects negatively the level of biodiversity, a counter‐intuitive result; due to the fact that when biodiversity is more productive, farmers can maintain lower biodiversity to get the same yield.