University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)
Bren School of Environmental Science and Management

Intensive course
Sustainable Management of Natural Resources:
A Viability Perspective

Michel DE LARA (ENPC, France) Vincent MARTINET (INRA, France)

Date: 2011 November 14-18

pdf version of this document

Email. delara[] ,      vincent.martinet[]

Key Words. Natural resources management, Economics, Ecology, Sustainability, Viability, Multicriteria approach, Modeling, Simulation, Uncertainty.

Language. English.

Location. Bren School of Environmental Science and Management


Evaluation. Presence and participation. Computer practical works notation.

Short description.
This course introduces the viability approach, a dynamic and multicriteria framework to deal with sustainability issues. This approach allows researchers of different disciplines (e.g., economics, biology, sociology) to develop a common dynamic model to describe the system under study, and define the sustainability objectives with constraints that have to be satisfied at all times (e.g., economic, ecological and social constraints). This provides powerful tools for sustainable decision-making. During the whole course, the viability approach will be compared to usual economic and ecological approaches. This approach will be applied to natural resources management (nonrenewable and renewable resources). Deterministic and uncertainty cases will be studied. Both theoretical and practical methods will be presented. Practical exercises in computer lab will allow the student to apply what has been learnt to real world case studies (fisheries management, epidemics control).

Skills acquired.
Knowing and using concepts, models, mathematical and numerical methods of viability theory allowing to formalize and to treat issues concerning sustainability and precaution in the management of natural resources and of the environment, more specifically:

We focus on examples related to the exploitation of renewable or exhaustible resources and to greenhouse gases mitigation. We propose a common framework of sequential decision allowing to take into account uncertainties, ecological and economic requirements, intergenerational equity.

Teaching courses and practical work with software Scilab alternate to make intuitive the more abstract and formal parts of the course.

1 Program

Introduction: Sustainability and Viability

2011 Monday November 14, 4:30-7pm. Classroom BH 1510.


Introduction to the economics of sustainability, Sustainability criteria, Conservation issues, Consequences for natural resources management.

Introduction to the theory of viability: principle, interpretation in the context of sustainability theory, application to nonrenewable resources economics (the climate change issue), application to renewable resources economics (the fishery).

(Heal, 1998) (Martinet, 2007) (Martinet and Doyen, 2007) (Martinet, 2011) (Martinet, 2012) (Neumayer, 2010)

Viabilty for the Management of Natural Resources

2011 Tuesday November 15, 5-7:30pm. Classroom BH 1510.

Viability : examples, theory and methods. slides

Examples of natural resource management models and of environmental economics models: exhaustible resource, forest management, fishing management, CO$ _2$ emissions mitigation, etc. Introduction to state control dynamical models in discrete time. Constraints, strategies.

(Béné, Doyen, and Gabay, 2001; Rapaport, Terreaux, and Doyen, 2006; Béné and Doyen, 2003; Martinet, Thébaud, and Rapaport, 2010; Béné and Doyen, 2000; Martinet, Doyen, and Thébaud, 2007; Martinet and Doyen, 2007) (De Lara, 2008)

Viable and Guaranteed Harvesting Management

2011 Wednesday November 16, 6-8:30pm. Computer laboratory BH 3035.

Computer laboratory: practical work with software Scilab.

Introduction to Scilab.

Viable harvesting of a renewable resource.

Viability and Uncertainty

2011 Friday November 18, 9-11:30am. Classroom BH 1510.

Control dynamical systems with uncertainty. slides

Introduction to stochastic viability. Comparison with expected discounted utility.


Illustration with the case of fisheries management. slides

(Doyen and De Lara, 2010; Doyen, De Lara, Ferraris, and Pelletier, 2007; De Lara, 2009)

Sustainable Management of Fish Stock

2011 Friday November 18, 1-3:30pm. Computer laboratory BH 3035.

Computer laboratory: practical work with software Scilab.

Sustainable management of fish stock based on spawning stock biomass indicator.

(D, 2007a,b)


C. Béné and L. Doyen.
Storage and viability of a fishery with resource and market dephased seasonnalities.
Environmental Resource Economics, 15: 1-26, 2000.

C. Béné and L. Doyen.
Sustainability of fisheries through marine reserves: a robust modeling analysis.
Journal of Environmental Management, 69 (1): 1-13, 2003.

C. Béné, L. Doyen, and D. Gabay.
A viability analysis for a bio-economic model.
Ecological Economics, 36: 385-396, 2001.

M. De Lara and L. Doyen.
Sustainable Management of Natural Resources. Mathematical Models and Methods.
Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2008.

M. De Lara and V. Martinet.
Multi-criteria dynamic decision under uncertainty: A stochastic viability analysis and an application to sustainable fishery management.
Mathematical Biosciences, 217 (2): 118-124, February 2009.

M. De Lara, L. Doyen, T. Guilbaud, and M.-J. Rochet.
Is a management framework based on spawning-stock biomass indicators sustainable? A viability approach.
ICES J. Mar. Sci., 64 (4): 761-767, 2007a.

M. De Lara, L. Doyen, T. Guilbaud, and M.-J. Rochet.
Monotonicity properties for the viable control of discrete time systems.
Systems and Control Letters, 56 (4): 296-302, 2007b.

L. Doyen and M. De Lara.
Stochastic viability and dynamic programming.
Systems and Control Letters, 59 (10): 629-634, October 2010.

L. Doyen, M. De Lara, J. Ferraris, and D. Pelletier.
Sustainability of exploited marine ecosystems through protected areas: a viability model and a coral reef case study.
Ecological Modelling, 208 (2-4): 353-366, November 2007.

G. Heal.
Valuing the Future : Economic Theory and Sustainability.
Columbia University Press, New York, 1998.

V. Martinet.
A step beside the maximin path: Can we sustain the economy by following Hartwick's investment rule?
Ecological Economics, 64 (1): 103-108, 2007.
Access to the paper.

V. Martinet.
A characterization of sustainability with indicators.
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 61(2): 183-197, 2011.
Access to the paper.

V. Martinet.
Economic Theory and Sustainable Development: What can we preserve for future generations
Routledge, 2012. Hardback: 978-0-415-54477-1
Publisher's website.

V. Martinet and F. Blanchard.
Fishery externalities and biodiversity: Trade-offs between the viability of shrimp trawling and the conservation of Frigatebirds in French Guiana.
Ecological Economics, 68 (12): 2960-2968, 2009.
Access to the paper.

V. Martinet and L. Doyen.
Sustainable management of an exhaustible resource: a viable control approach.
Resource and Energy Economics, 29 (1): 19-37, 2007.
Access to the paper.

V. Martinet, O. Thébaud, and L. Doyen.
Defining viable recovery paths toward sustainable fisheries.
Ecological Economics, 64 (2): 411-422, 2007.
Access to the paper.

V. Martinet, O. Thébaud, and A. Rapaport.
Hare or Tortoise? Trade-offs in recovering sustainable bioeconomic systems.
Environmental Modeling and Assessment, 15 (6): 503-517, 2010.
Access to the paper.

E. Neumayer.
Weak versus Strong Sustainability: Exploring the Limits of Two Opposing Paradigms.
(Third edition). Edward Elgar, 2010.

A. Rapaport, J.-P. Terreaux, and L. Doyen.
Sustainable management of renewable resource: a viability approach.
Mathematics and Computer Modeling, 43 (5-6): 466-484, March 2006.