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Capitalizing on Nature
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Book description

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.

Reviews

‘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

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