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Sustainability 2013, 5(2), 749-773; doi:10.3390/su5020749

Ecology and the Tragedy of the Commons

Department of Invertebrate Zoology & Geology, California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
Received: 17 December 2012 / Revised: 21 January 2013 / Accepted: 6 February 2013 / Published: 18 February 2013
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This paper develops mathematical models of the tragedy of the commons analogous to ecological models of resource consumption. Tragedies differ fundamentally from predator–prey relationships in nature because human consumers of a resource are rarely controlled solely by that resource. Tragedies do occur, however, at the level of the ecosystem, where multiple species interactions are involved. Human resource systems are converging rapidly toward ecosystem-type systems as the number of exploited resources increase, raising the probability of system-wide tragedies in the human world. Nevertheless, common interests exclusive of exploited commons provide feasible options for avoiding tragedy in a converged world.
Keywords: tragedy of the commmons; ecological model; mathematical model; ecosystems; mutualism tragedy of the commmons; ecological model; mathematical model; ecosystems; mutualism

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Roopnarine, P. Ecology and the Tragedy of the Commons. Sustainability 2013, 5, 749-773.

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