Books  Sustainable Development  Economics, Business & Industry  Environmental Economics 

Capitalizing on Nature: Ecosystems as Natural Assets

By: Edward B Barbier (Author)

336 pages, 49 b/w illustrations, 13 tables

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Sep 2011 | #200669 | ISBN-13: 9780521189279
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £24.99 $31/€28 approx
Hardback | Sep 2011 | #200668 | ISBN-13: 9781107007277
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £62.99 $77/€71 approx

About this book

The basic unit of nature – the ecosystem – is a special form of wealth, which we can think of as a stock of natural capital. However, perhaps because this capital is free, we have tended to view it as limitless, abundant and always available for our use, exploitation and conversion.

Capitalizing on Nature shows how modeling ecosystems as natural capital can help us to analyze the economic behavior that has led to the overuse of so much ecological wealth. It explains how this concept of ecosystem as natural capital sheds light on a number of important issues, including landscape conversion, ecological restoration, ecosystem resilience and collapse, spatial benefits and payments for ecosystem services.

The book concludes by focusing on major policy challenges that need to be overcome in order to avert the worsening problem of ecological scarcity and how we can fund novel financing mechanisms for global conservation.

"Spiced with a rich melange of historical perspective and insightful empirical illustration, Barbier sets out the key issues necessary to address the challenge of the unfolding 'Age of Ecological Scarcity'. This volume will draw readers from multiple fields including economics, ecology and environmental sciences."
- Ian Bateman, Professor of Environmental Sciences, CSERGE, University of East Anglia

"This important book, by a leader in natural resource economics, is essential reading for anyone interested in knowing what 'sustainable development' really means."
- Professor Sir Peter Crane, Carl W. Knobloch, Jr Dean, Yale University

"A landmark contribution to the development of the theory of natural capital, this book combines broad scholarship and novel research to address the central challenge in environmental economics."
- Simon Levin, George M. Moffett Professor of Biology, Princeton University

"Barbier's latest book is the clearest exposition yet of ecological scarcity as an economic problem and of ecosystems as valuable natural assets. Natural Capital as a concept has come of age, and as one of its key proponents, Barbier does justice both to its pedagogical complexity and to its significance for our common future."
- Pavan Sukhdev, McCluskey Fellow 2011, Yale University, and Study Leader TEEB


List of figures
List of tables
List of boxes

1. Ecological scarcity as an economic problem
2. Ecosystem services and ecological landscapes
3. The basic natural asset model
4. Spatial variation in ecosystems
5. The open economy
6. Ecological collapse
7. The way ahead
8. Policies in the age of ecological scarcity


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Edward B. Barbier is the John S. Bugas Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics and Finance, University of Wyoming. He has over twenty-five years' experience as an environmental and resource economist, working mainly on the economics of environment and development issues. He is the author of many books on environmental policy, including Natural Resources and Economic Development (2005), A Global Green New Deal (2010) and Scarcity and Frontiers: How Economies Have Developed Through Natural Resource Exploitation (2010), all published by Cambridge University Press.

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