Ecosystems as Natural Assets
An important contribution of natural resource economics has been to treat the natural environment as a form of capital asset. The more recent literature on ecosystem services implies that these environmental systems can also be viewed as natural assets that produce a flow of beneficial goods and services over time. Ecosystems as Natural Assets explores this literature and related modeling to show explicitly how the concept of ecosystems as natural assets translates into the traditional "natural capital" approach of resource economics. In Ecosystems as Natural Assets, the author uses ecological landscape, or land area, as the basic unit, therefore modeling the ecosystem as a natural asset is relatively straightforward. The approach is to adopt a much simpler model of land use change. Chapter 2 discusses ecosystem services and ecological landscapes as the basis of representing ecosystems as a natural asset. Chapter 3 develops the basic natural asset model of an ecosystem by employing the competing land use model. Chapter 4 begins by returning the example of coastal landscapes and discusses ecological evidence that the basic functions of these systems are spatially variable. Chapter 5 revisits the basic natural asset model of competing uses of an ecological landscape and extends it to an open economy setting. Chapter 6 extends the basic model to consider the problem of ecological collapse, and shows that more of the ecological landscape will be preserved compared to when the threat of collapse is absent. Chapter 7 presents the conclusions.
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The Basic Natural Asset Model
Spatial Variation in Ecosystems
Open Economy Conditions
aﬀects basic model basic natural asset beneﬁcial beneﬁt ﬂows coastal ecosystem coastal landscape competing land conservation decline deﬁned developed land development activities diﬀerence diﬀerentiating ecological collapse ecological functions ecological land ecological landscape ecological services ecological transition economy’s ecosys ecosystem beneﬁts ecosystem collapse ecosystem landscape ecosystem services Ecosystems as Natural eﬀects Environmental Economics Equation exports ﬁrst ﬁsheries ﬂow of ecosystem forest habitat functions habitat-ﬁshery linkages inﬂuence initial landscape irreversible land conversion land use decision Landscape Ecology long run steady mangrove mangrove ecosystems marginal beneﬁts marginal value Millennium Ecosystem Assessment natural asset model natural ecosystems natural landscape area natural landscape conversion net present value nomic O’Neill opportunity cost optimal landscape conversion optimal path payment for ecosystem present value problem Reed and Heras reﬂects rent from developed returns to shrimp scape shadow value shrimp aquaculture shrimp farming storm protection terms of trade Thailand unit of ecosystem user cost