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A Field Guide to Economics for Conservationists

By: Brendan Fisher(Author), Robin Naidoo(Author), Taylor H Ricketts(Author)

190 pages, b/w illustrations

Roberts and Company Publishers

Paperback | Nov 2014 | #227124 | ISBN-13: 9781936221509
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £26.99 $36/€30 approx

About this book

Why do conservationists need a field guide to economics on their shelves alongside the well-loved bird and plant guides?

Two reasons, really. First, the economic decisions people make every day are at the core of the world's conservation issues: climate change, Amazonian deforestation, tiger poaching, vulture declines in Asia, and countless others. Second, and more importantly, an understanding of the economic forces behind these decisions can help conservationists safeguard biodiversity in a more sophisticated and effective way.

The authors use simple illustrations, examples from around the world, and readable (occasionally irreverent) prose to describe the central economic principles that are relevant to conservation. They assume no previous economic training. A Field Guide to Economics for Conservationists should prove an excellent resource for both teachers and students in conservation and ecology classes at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as for working scientists and others interested in learning more about conservation and economics.

"Increasingly, economics data are becoming a key part of environmental decision making. I don't know of another primer on the subject which is even half as good as this one. This is a must read for every ecologist who wants to stay informed about the development of our field. It is such a shame there is not a companion volume explaining ecology to economists."
– John Hopkins, BES Bulletin 46(4), December 2015

"Clear, informative and hilarious. This is a must-read for anyone in conservation who knows they need to overcome their fear of economics."
– Andrew Balmford, University of Cambridge

"Conservationists definitely need to understand economics, now more than ever. I cannot think of a better team than Fisher, Naidoo and Ricketts to provide the necessary background and insights."
– Georgina Mace, University College London

"This excellent and highly accessible book shows why economics is vital to understanding both the causes and potential solutions to the ongoing loss of wild nature. It is also the only economics textbook to ever (intentionally) make me laugh!"
– Ian Bateman, University of East Anglia

"Finally, a clear and approachable introduction to economics for students in conservation, natural resources, and sustainability. Where was this book when I was in school?"
– Gretchen Daily, Stanford University


Chapter 1: Introduction: Why Economics is Important for Conservation
Chapter 2: Opportunity Cost and Cost-Benefit Analysis: Why Conservation Often Loses out to Other Stuff
Chapter 3: The Economist's Punch Line: Supply and Demand
Chapter 4: Ecosystem Services: The Economic-Ecological Sandwich
Chapter 5: Valuing the Environment
Chapter 6: Institutions: Capturing and Securing the Value of Nature
Chapter 7: Managing the Landscape: Economics and Conservation at Scale
Chapter 8: A Few Wrinkles and Time

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Brendan Fisher is a Research Associate Professor at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. He spends much of his nonworking time playing hockey, soccer, and board games with his three children. Brendan's research focus is on the nexus of economics, ecosystem services, human behavior, and poverty alleviation. He is a senior fellow at the World Wildlife Fund and a fellow at the Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE) at the University of East Anglia. Brendan graduated the 8th grade from St. Joseph's School in Aston, Pennsylvania, with a solid B in social studies.

Robin Naidoo is Canadian and therefore gives this book a modicum of credibility. For the last decade he has worked as a conservation scientist for the World Wildlife Fund, investigating the ecology, economics, and conservation of biodiversity. He works closely with the Community-Based Natural Resources Management Program in Namibia, where he gets to collar large and dangerous wildlife, to the chagrin of his office-based coauthors. He is an adjunct professor in the Institute of Resources, Environment, and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia; fellow at the Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE) at the University of East Anglia; and a fellow at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont.

Taylor Ricketts is professor and director of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont. That makes him sound like an economist, but he really is a biologist who could have used this book to avoid a decade of trying to understand his coauthors. His research focuses on the overarching issue, "How do we meet the needs of people and nature in an increasingly crowded, changing world?" Specific work includes estimating the economic benefits provided to people by forests, wetlands, reefs, and other natural areas. In addition to his work at the Gund Institute, Taylor is a senior fellow at World Wildlife Fund. He considers the bees he studies to be equally impressive – and easier to collar – than Namibian wildlife.

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