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Coupling the socio-economic and ecological dynamics of cyanobacteria: Single lake and network dynamics
Ecological Economics  (IF5.389),  Pub Date : 2022-01-17, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.107324
Christopher M. Heggerud, Hao Wang, Mark A. Lewis

In recent decades freshwater lakes have seen an increase in human presence. A common byproduct of this human presence is eutrophication, which readily results in harmful cyanobacteria (CB) blooms. In this work we propose a model that couples the socio-economic and ecological dynamics related to cyanobacteria systems. The socio-economic dynamics considers the choices a human population makes regarding whether or not to mitigate their pollution levels. These choices are based on various costs related to social ostracism, social norms, environmental concern and financial burden. The coupled model exhibits bistable dynamics, with one stable state corresponding to high mitigation efforts and low CB abundance, and the other to low mitigation efforts and high CB abundance. Furthermore, we consider social interactions among a network of lakes and present dynamic outcomes pertaining to various associated costs and social situations. In each case we show the potential for regime shifts between levels of cooperation and CB abundance. Social ostracism and pressure are shown to be driving factors in causing such regime shifts.