Economics of wild boar management in Sweden

Last changed: 09 March 2020

Wild boar is the most widespread mammal in the world, and can cause much damage for farmers. This project will calculate costs and benefits of wild boars. Costs are calculated for farmers and in terms of traffic accidents, and benefits are estimated from the hunting value of the species.

Wild boars have existed in Sweden over thousand years. They were eradicated in the end of the seventeenth century but reinstated in 1723 for hunting purposes on the island Öland. In 2010 the total number was estimated to >150 0000 individuals, with a prospect of half a million within five to six years (, 2011-09-06). This dramatic change raises two main economic issues, which are addressed in this project; i) what are the social costs/benefits from wild boar population in Sweden? and ii) how can the wild boar population be managed in order to improve the social net benefits?

The first question arises from the concerns that wild boar population causes damages for farmers, from traffic accidents, and from the creation of fear and discomfort in recreational landscape activities. This project focuses on costs for farmers and from traffic accidents. Damages for farmers occur from the wild boars‟ natural habitat selection, i.e. mixed landscape with forests, meadows and tillable land, and the rooting behavior in the field layer and soils during foraging. During the latest decade the numbers of wild boar traffic accidents have continuously been rising. For example, between 2003-2011 there has been an increase in reported traffic accidents by 251% (NVR 2012, Jägerbrand 2012). Due to the low height of wild boars drivers seems to have some difficulties in detecting the animals on or close to the road.

With respect to the second main question of this project, there are a multitude of potential management strategies for mitigating damages from wild boar. These strategies include generally increased local hunting pressure and/or directed towards specific animal categories Fencing is another strategy where vulnerable fields are fenced. Supplementary feeding is yet another approach where the wild boars are expected to change habitat due to feed access, the overall effectiveness of this is however questioned. Needless to say, all these strategies represent additional costs where the effects are unclear and inherently dynamic over time.

It is crucial that the optimal management plan accounts for the dynamic intertemporal aspects of the problems as well as the stochastic aspects. Hence, the project involves three main tasks:

1) Construction of a bioeconomic model of wild boar population with spatial heterogeneity, which is used to identify and quantify impacts of different mitigation strategies such as increased hunting in various parts (and/or given hunting grounds or estates) of Sweden.
2) Identification and calculation of damages from wild boar population for farmers and from traffic accidents and assess how these damages depend upon the number of animals, the geographical location and landscape, hunting traditions as well the agricultural copping systems.
3) Analysis of the optimal social management strategies of wild boar population in different and connected regions accounting for uncertainty in development and cost/benefit estimates of wild boar populations.


Project period
Project leader
Ing-Marie Gren
Project co-workers
Hans Andersson, Tobias Häggmark-Svensson
Project funder
Viltfonden at Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

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