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Consequential costs of sheep depredation by large carnivores in Sweden

Widman, Marit; Steen, Margareta; Elofsson, Katarina


The aim of this paper is to investigate consequential costs of livestock depredation by large carnivores. We estimate costs for productivity losses and additional labor using Swedish survey data on sheep farmers. Impacts on productivity and labor are identified through a comparison of sheep farmers in areas with low and high carnivore densities, farmers that have suffered attacks, and summer pasture farmers that have and have not suffered attacks, respectively. Results indicate that sheep herds in areas with high densities of carnivores and in herds that have experienced carnivore attacks have lower reproductive rates than do herds in areas with low densities of carnivores. Farmers who have experienced a carnivore attack on their livestock spend extra labor on fence maintenance, searching for lost animals, and bringing the animals in for the night. The use of enforced so-called carnivore fences has a significant impact on time spent on fence maintenance and on searching for lost animals. Finally, results show that costs for farmers that have experienced an attack differ between farms that keep the sheep within fences, and summer pasture farms that apply free-range grazing. Results from the study can motivate the use of a flat rate compensation per ewe in the herd, which is differentiated between farms in areas with high carnivore densities and conventional and summer pasture farms that have suffered an attack.


Brown bear; Lynx; Sheep; Wildlife compensation; Wolf; Indirect costs.

Published in

Working Paper Series / Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics
2017, number: 2017:2Publisher: Department of Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences