Spatial-Dynamic Complexities of Climate Challenge for Rural Areas: Integrating Resource and Regional Economic Insights

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Research questions in resource economics increasingly have incorporated both the field's traditional dynamic considerations and the spatial concerns that often are the focus of regional economics. Spatial heterogeneity in costs, benefits, or connectivity often interact with intertemporal change in contexts such as fisheries management, water allocation, invasive species control, and land use change, making spatially- or temporally-uniform polices less likely to be efficient. In this article, we examine how climate change is likely to enhance the need to incorporate spatial-dynamic approaches to address natural resource challenges. We focus our discussion on rural areas, which are typically highly dependent on natural resources and particularly vulnerable to climate change. Following a brief review of existing spatial-dynamic models in natural resource economics and the insights derived from them, we describe how climate change can bring new spatial or temporal aspects to resource management problems, or exacerbate existing resource challenges that are best characterized as spatial-dynamic processes. We conclude with three case studies that highlight how integrating resource and regional economics through spatial-dynamic modeling may improve the analysis of climate change impacts in rural areas, considering the effects on rangeland management, groundwater policy, and land use management in floodplains and coastal areas.

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