Abstract

This chapter considers the ways in which research at the intersection of ecology and economics has strengthened our understanding of anthropogenic biosphere change. Three dimensions of the problem are addressed. The first is the linkages between the carrying and assimilative capacity of the environment and the substitutability of produced and natural capital. The second is connection between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and the valuation of non-marketed environmental goods and services. The third is the resilience of ecological systems and the stability and sustainability of economic states and processes. Work across the two disciplines has affected the spatial and temporal scale at which the problem is addressed, the way in which biophysical processes appear in models of the coupled system, the data used to calibrate and validate those models, and the range of interventions considered. We show where traction has been gained by taking explicit account of processes that have traditionally been neglected or treated parametrically in economic models, or by taking account of stocks whose dynamics play out at different temporal and spatial scales. We also show how application of the ecological concept of resilience has provided both a foundation for sustainability science and a way to test the environmental consequences of demographic, technological, institutional and economic changes in human societies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHandbook of Environmental Economics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

biosphere
ecology
economics
sustainability
natural capital
valuation
biodiversity
science
Ecology
Economics
ecosystem
Resilience
Institutional change
Linkage
Biodiversity
Ecological systems
Ecosystem
Substitutability
Functioning
Sustainability

Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Ecological functioning
  • Ecosystem services
  • Natural capital
  • Resilience
  • Sustainability
  • Valuation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Cite this

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abstract = "This chapter considers the ways in which research at the intersection of ecology and economics has strengthened our understanding of anthropogenic biosphere change. Three dimensions of the problem are addressed. The first is the linkages between the carrying and assimilative capacity of the environment and the substitutability of produced and natural capital. The second is connection between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and the valuation of non-marketed environmental goods and services. The third is the resilience of ecological systems and the stability and sustainability of economic states and processes. Work across the two disciplines has affected the spatial and temporal scale at which the problem is addressed, the way in which biophysical processes appear in models of the coupled system, the data used to calibrate and validate those models, and the range of interventions considered. We show where traction has been gained by taking explicit account of processes that have traditionally been neglected or treated parametrically in economic models, or by taking account of stocks whose dynamics play out at different temporal and spatial scales. We also show how application of the ecological concept of resilience has provided both a foundation for sustainability science and a way to test the environmental consequences of demographic, technological, institutional and economic changes in human societies.",
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