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Harvesting in Stochastic Environments: Optimal Policies in a Relaxed Model

Abstract : This paper examines the objective of optimally harvesting a single species in a stochastic environment. This problem has previously been analyzed in [1] using dynamic programming techniques and, due to the natural payoff structure of the price rate function (the price decreases as the population increases), no optimal harvesting policy exists. This paper establishes a relaxed formulation of the harvesting model in such a manner that existence of an optimal relaxed harvesting policy can not only be proven but also identified. The analysis imbeds the harvesting problem in an infinite-dimensional linear program over a space of occupation measures in which the initial position enters as a parameter and then analyzes an auxiliary problem having fewer constraints. In this manner upper bounds are determined for the optimal value (with the given initial position); these bounds depend on the relation of the initial population size to a specific target size. The more interesting case occurs when the initial population exceeds this target size; a new argument is required to obtain a sharp upper bound. Though the initial population size only enters as a parameter, the value is determined in a closed-form functional expression of this parameter.
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Richard Stockbridge, Chao Zhu. Harvesting in Stochastic Environments: Optimal Policies in a Relaxed Model. 25th System Modeling and Optimization (CSMO), Sep 2011, Berlin, Germany. pp.197-206, ⟨10.1007/978-3-642-36062-6_20⟩. ⟨hal-01347538⟩

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