The field of biodiversity economics, i.e. the analysis of the problems at the interface between the disciplines of economics and biology, probably has its origins primarily in the work of Colin Clark. Much of this early work looked at the exploitation of fisheries in the context of various institutional assumptions: open access, social planning, etc. Since these early efforts, the field of biodiversity economics has expanded in many different directions. It still concerns the analysis of the causes of resource overexploitation and decline, but also includes within its core the examination of the sorts of externalities involved (values) and the types of policies applied. In addition, and most crucially, the field now encompasses many resources other than simply marine resources: forests, wildlife, and even genetic resources (used in agriculture and pharmaceutical industries). The entire diversity of biological resources within the living world is now brought within the field of biodiversity economics.
All of these problems share a common aspect – the dynamic nature of biological resources. Biological resources are distinctive in that they live and grow and respond to other living things. This generates a common analysis across the entire discipline that focuses on how human societies interact with other living things and how management should take biological characteristics into consideration.
In this volume we provide a set of papers that demonstrates the application of this framework across the entire range of issues currently under consideration within this important field.