Books

An Introduction to Ecological Economics, Second Edition

Costanza, R., J. C. Cumberland, H. E. Daly, R. Goodland, R. Norgaard, I Kubiszewski, and C. Franco.  2014. Taylor and Francis.


Ecological economics explores new ways of thinking about how we manage our lives and our planet to achieve a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future. Ecological economics extends and integrates the study and management of both “nature’s household” and “humankind’s household”―An Introduction to Ecological Economics, Second Edition, the first update and expansion of this classic text in 15 years, describes new approaches to achieving a sustainable and desirable human presence on Earth. Written by the top experts in the field, it addresses the necessity for an innovative approach to integrated environmental, social, and economic analysis and management, and describes policies aimed at achieving our shared goals.

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Creating a Sustainable and Desirable Future: Insights from 45 global thought leaders

Costanza, R. and I. Kubiszewski (eds). 2014. World Scientific.


The major challenge for the current generation of mankind is to develop a shared vision of a future that is both desirable to the vast majority of humanity and ecologically sustainable. Creating a Sustainable and Desirable Future offers a broad, critical discussion on what such a future should or can be, with global perspectives written by some of the world’s leading thinkers, including: Wendell Berry, Van Jones, Frances Moore Lappe, Peggy Liu, Hunter Lovins, Gus Speth, Bill McKibben, and many more.

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Building a Sustainable and Desirable Economy-in-Society-in-Nature

Costanza, R., G. Alperovitz, H. Daly, J. Farley, C. Franco, T. Jackson, I, Kubiszewski, J. Schor, and P. Victor. 2013.  ANU Press.


In this book, we discuss the need to focus more directly on the goal of sustainable human well-being rather than merely GDP growth. This includes protecting and restoring nature, achieving social and intergenerational fairness (including poverty alleviation), stabilizing population, and recognizing the significant nonmarket contributions to human well-being from natural and social capital. To do this, we need to develop better measures of progress that go well beyond GDP and begin to measure human well-being and its sustainability more directly.

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Ecosystem Services in Agricultural and Urban Landscapes

Wratten, S., H. Sandhu, R. Cullen and R. Costanza (eds). 2013.  Wiley-Blackwell.


Ecosystem services are the resources and processes supplied by natural ecosystems which benefit humankind (for example, pollination of crops by insects, or water filtration by wetlands). They underpin life on earth, provide major inputs to many economic sectors and support our lifestyles. Agricultural and urban areas are by far the largest users of ecosystems and their services and (for the first time) this book explores the role that ecosystem services play in these managed environments. The book also explores methods of evaluating ecosystem services, and discusses how these services can be maintained and enhanced in our farmlands and cities. This book will be useful to students and researchers from a variety of fields, including applied ecology, environmental economics, agriculture and forestry, and also to local and regional planners and policy makers.

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Vivement 2050! Programme pour une économie soutenable et désirable

Costanza, R., G. Alperovitz, H. Daly, J. Farley, C. Franco, T. Jackson, I, Kubiszewski, J. Schor, and P. Victor. 2013.  Les Petits Matins.


Les principes qui fondent l’économie mondiale doivent changer, et vite ! Nos modes de vie s’accompagnent de prélèvements qui détruisent les ressources limitées de la planète et menacent les bases mêmes de la vie. Pire, la poursuite de la croissance a cessé d’améliorer le bien-être dans les pays riches tandis que pauvreté et sous-alimentation perdurent au Sud. La bonne nouvelle est qu’il serait possible de satisfaire les besoins de tous, de concilier le nécessaire et le souhaitable, et de vivre mieux dans une économie rendue enfin durable. Ce livre brosse un panorama des solutions à mettre en oeuvre: prendre en compte les limites écologiques (émissions de déchets, exploitation des ressources), abandonner l’objectif de croissance du PIB au profit de l’amélioration du bien-être humain, rediriger nos techniques de production vers des solutions durables, renforcer le capital humain et social (réduction du temps de travail, lutte contre les inégalités), réaliser des réformes financières et fiscales écologiques. De quoi aller vers plus de bien-être, de prospérité et de démocratie dans le respect de la biosphère. Cela ne se fera pas en un jour. D’où la nécessité d’engager rapidement les mutations nécessaires. Vivement 2050!

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Ecological Economics of Estuaries and Coasts, Volume 12 in: Tretise on Estuarine and Coastal Science

van den Belt, M. and R. Costanza (Eds). 2011.  Academic Press.


This volume introduces ecological economics as a transdisciplinary  field of inquiry. It explores some of its history, normative goals, and an introduction to applied tools used in decision making and management. Against this background, an integrative analysis and synthesis of economic, ecological, and social systems regarding estuaries and coasts are approached from an ecosystems service perspective. An overview is provided into assessing the tradeoffs to manage estuaries and coasts from a holistic, multiscale, dynamic, societal, and science perspective.

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Handbook of Ecological Indicators for Assessment of Ecosystem Health, Second Edition

Jørgensen, S. E., F-L Xu, and R. Costanza (eds). 2010.  CRC Press/Taylor and Francis Group.


Continuing in the tradition of its bestselling predecessor, the Handbook of Ecological Indicators for Assessment of Ecosystem Health, Second Edition brings together world-class editors and contributors who have been at the forefront of ecosystem health assessment research for decades, to provide a sound approach to environmental management and sustainable development. Significantly updated and expanded, this authoritative resource details a proven framework for selecting, evaluating, and validating ecological indicators for ecosystem health assessment. It guides readers through the application of this framework to a wide range of ecosystems, including wetlands, estuaries, coastal zones, lakes, forests, marine ecosystems, lagoons, agricultural systems, landscapes, and rivers. The text synthesizes material from a variety of books, journals, and private research, to consider biodiversity, energy needs, ecological economics, and natural capital in the measurement of ecological health.

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Sustainability or Collapse? An Integrated History and Future of People on Earth

Costanza, R., L. J. Graumlich, and W. Steffen (eds.). 2007. Dahlem Workshop Report 96. MIT Press.


Human history, as written traditionally, leaves out the important ecological and climate context of historical events. But the capability to integrate the history of human beings with the natural history of the Earth now exists, and we are finding that human-environmental systems are intimately linked in ways we are only beginning to appreciate. In Sustainability or Collapse?, researchers from a range of scholarly disciplines develop an integrated human and environmental history over millennial, centennial, and decadal time scales and make projections for the future. The contributors focus on the human-environment interactions that have shaped historical forces since ancient times and discuss such key methodological issues as data quality. Topics highlighted include the political ecology of the Mayans; the effect of climate on the Roman Empire; the “revolutionary weather” of El Niño from 1788 to 1795; twentieth-century social, economic, and political forces in environmental change; scenarios for the future; and the accuracy of such past forecasts as The Limits to Growth.

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Landscape Simulation Modeling: A Spatially Explicit, Dynamic Approach

Costanza, R. and A. Voinov (eds). 2003.  Springer.


When managers and ecologists need to make decisions about the environment, they use models to simulate the dynamic systems that interest them. All management decisions affect certain landscapes over time, and those landscapes are composed of intricate webs of dynamic processes that need to be considered in relation to each other. With widespread use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), there is a growing need for complex models corporating an increasing amount of data. The open-source Spatial Modeling Environment (SME) was developed to build upon common modeling software, such as STELLA (R), and Powersim (R), among others, to create, run, analyze, and present spatial models of ecosystems, watersheds, populations, and landscapes. In this book, the creators of the Spatial Modeling Environment discuss and illustrate the uses of SME as a modeling tool for all kinds of complex spatial systems. The authors demonstrate the entire process of spatial modeling, beginning with the conceptual design, continuing through formal implementation and analysis, and finally with the interpretation and presentation of the results. A variety of applications and case studies address particular types of ecological and management problems and help to identify potential problems for modelers. Researchers and students interested in spatial modeling will learn how to simulate the complex dynamics of landscapes. Managers and decision makers will acquire tools for predicting changes in landscapes while learning about both the possibilities and the limitations of simulation models.

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Understanding and Solving Environmental Problems in the 21st Century: Toward a New, Integrated Hard Problem Science

Costanza, R. and S. E. Jørgensen (eds.) 2002. Elsevier.


The aim of this book is to encourage integration of the natural and social sciences with the policy and design-making community, and thereby develop a deeper understanding of complex environmental problems. Its fundamental themes are: integrated modeling and assessment complex, adaptive, hierarchical systems ecosystem services science and decision-making ecosystem health and human health quality of life and the distribution of wealth and resources. This book will act as a state of the art assessment of integrated environmental science and its relation to real world problem solving. It is aimed not only at the academic community, but also as a sourcebook for managers, policy makers, and the informed public. It deals both with the state of the science and the level of consensus among scientists on key environmental issues. The concepts underlying this book were developed at the 2nd EcoSummit workshop held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, June, 2000, with active participation from all delegates, and attempts to present their collective view.

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The economics of nature and the nature of economics

Cleveland, C. J., D. I. Stern, and R. Costanza (eds.) 2001. Edward Elgar.


This book discusses important recent developments in the theory, concepts and empirical applications of ecological economics and sustainable development. The editors have assembled a fascinating collection of papers from some of the leading scholars in the field of ecological economics. Topics covered include: * the contribution of classical economics to ecological economics * alternatives to the growth paradigm and Gross Domestic Product * valuation in ecological economics and indicators of natural resource scarcity * case studies of sustainable development * critical reviews of the environmental Kuznets curve * green national accounting. This will be an invaluable text for scholars, policy analysts and students interested in sustainable development and ecological, environmental and resource economics.

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Institutions, Ecosystems, and Sustainability

Costanza, R., B. Low, E. Ostrom, and J. Wilson (eds). 2001.  Lewis/CRC Press.


In the latter part of the 20th century, humans are doing a particularly poor job of managing natural resources in a sustainable way over the long term. Institutions, Ecosystems, and Sustainability focuses on long-term, sustainable natural resource management practices at the local, national, and international levels. The authors suggest that a major cause of the “sustainability problem” – regulatory policies for large areas that often threaten the sustainability of both natural resources and previously effective governance problems – lie in “scale” problems. Large scale ecosystems are not simply larger versions of smaller systems, and micro-scale ecosystems are not merely microcosms of large scale systems. The driving forces and feedback mechanisms operate at different levels and exhibit distinct patterns of their own. Traditional management practices that do well at the local level cannot be expected to do equally well in handling activities organized at the continental or global scale. Even more importantly, when local systems are superseded by national or international management practices, local ecosystems frequently suffer. The challenge is to match ecosystems and governance systems in ways that maximize the compatibility of these systems. This book builds upon this fundamental principle. Particularly valuable is the use of simulation exercises to explore the consequences of social institutions and a discussion of the progress being made in developing a broad global data base to test hypothesis about the relationship between ecosystems and social institutions, and to investigate ways to repair the damage already caused by scale mismatches.

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The Local Politics of Global Sustainability

Prugh, T., R. Costanza, and H. Daly. 2000.  Island Press.


The Local Politics of Global Sustainability explores  the political implications of ecological economics. It envisions a re-energized political system based on a type of self-governance that political scientist Benjamin Barber calls “strong democracy.” A politics of engagement rather than consignment, strong democracy empowers citizens to participate directly in community decision making. Using examples of communities that are experimenting with various features of strong democratic systems, The Local Politics of Global Sustainability explains in engaging, accessible prose the crucial biophysical, economic, and social issues involved in achieving a sustainable world of our choice, rather than one imposed by external factors.

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Ecosystem Health

Rapport, D., R. Costanza, P. Epstein, C. Gaudet, and R. Levins, 1998. Blackwell Scientific.


Ecosystem Health presents information to help the environmental sciences community further understand the relationships between ecosystem health and human health. By exploring preventative, diagnostic and prognostic aspects of ecosystem management and using case-study examples, the book takes the reader from theory to practice in this emerging integrative science..

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Frontiers In Ecological Economics: Transdisciplinary Essays of Robert Costanza

Costanza, R. 1997.  Edward Elgar.


Frontiers in Ecological Economics presents some of Robert Costanza’s most important work on understanding ecological and economic systems. A signal contribution of Costanza’s work is that he transcends disciplinary boundaries by collaborating closely with other specialists and thereby constructs an integrated analysis of the interaction between humans and the rest of the natural world. The book is divided into four parts; part one discusses the creation of an ecological economics, the second part considers material and energy flows in ecological and economic systems, part three surveys dynamic ecological and economic systems modelling and analysis and the final part explores the role of institutions and incentives in environmental protection. Main themes and issues include: environmental sustainability, managing environmental systems, energy and economic valuation in environmental systems and a concern for both the necessity and limitations of modelling ecological economic systems. The book improves access to Robert Costanza’s work which has made a fundamental contribution to the development of ecological economics.

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The Development of Ecological Economics

Costanza, R., C. Cleveland, and C. Perrings (eds.). 1997.  Edward Elgar.


This major authoritative collection prepared by leading figures from North America and Europe presents a careful selection of the most important published articles and papers on ecological economics. Ecology and economics have developed as separate disciplines throughout their recent histories in the twentieth century. A signal contribution of this important collection is that it brings these different traditions together and successfully integrates the natural and social sciences in a volume that will be indispensable to anyone interested in ecological economics. This unique volume contains both classics in the field and contemporary research and gives a coherent picture of the development of the major threads in ecological economics. This collection is a “sampler” in the transdiciplinary field of ecological economics which paints a coherent picture of the development of some of the major threads in this new endeavour. It consists of a selection of both classics in the field and contemporary research, and is intended both for formal courses in ecological economics and for interested independent readers. The book contains 43 papers divided into six sections: 1. Historical Roots and Motivations; 2.Basic Organizing Principles of Ecological Economics; 3.Material and Energy Flows in Ecological and Economic Systems: Theory and Applications; 4.Accounting for Natural Capital, Ecological Limits, and Sustainable Scale; 5.Valuation of Ecological Services; and 6.Integrated Ecological Economic Modeling and Assessment.

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Getting Down To Earth: Practical Applications of Ecological Economics

Costanza, R., O. Segura, and J. Martinez-Alier (eds.). 1996. Island Press.


Achieving global sustainability will require the development and integration of three elements: a shared vision of what a sustainable society is; new methods of analysis and modelling to understand and describe that vision; and new institutions and instruments that can make the vision a reality. “Getting Down to Earth” examines these three elements and the importance of their integration for the creation of a sustainable world.Drawing on materials from a workshop following the third international conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics, “Getting Down to Earth” brings together scientists, managers, and national and international policymakers to identify practical strategies for implementing sustainability based on ecological economic principles. The book: reexamines the status quo from biophysical as well as social perspectives considers the collaborative process of developing a shared vision of a sustainable and desirable society addresses the need for models that incorporate precepts of ecological economics suggests institutional changes necessary for implementing the ecological economics vision of sustainability illustrates the importance of social, economic, cultural, and ecological factors in achieving sustainability using case studies from Latin America Joining a shared vision of a sustainable and desirable world with adequate analysis and innovative implementation promises to be the “full package” necessary to achieve sustainability. Ecological economics, a transdisciplinary approach that focuses directly on the problems facing humanity and the life-supporting ecosystems on which we depend, is helping to foster the dialogue necessary to pull the packagetogether and move toward newly articulated goals. “Getting Down to Earth” presents an important overview of the practical applications of ecological economics for students, researchers, faculty, and anyone interested in the development of a sustainable society.

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Natural Capital and Human Economic Survival

Prugh, T., R. Costanza, J. C. Cumberland, H. E. Daly, R. Goodland, and R. Norgaard. 1995. Chelsea Green and Sinaurer Presses.


Most people love nature and consider themselves environmentalists, but nature isn’t just pretty and lovable, it is indispensable to our survival and economic activity. That is the most compelling reason for environmental protection.
The conventional economic wisdom views land (natural capital) as a small part of the economy, along with capital, labor, technology and so on. The authors argue that this is backwards: that the economy nests within the environment (land) and not the other way around. The authors give a brief history of the origins of conventional economic wisdom and critique it from a the standpoint of ecological economics. They explain what natural capital -our life support system – is and does, and describe the severe strains that have been put on it. They conclude with some policy options, such as green taxes and suggestions for personal action that would conserve natural capital and thus make conserve resources for present and future generations. Natural Capital and Human Economic Survival is written for environmentalists, environmental studies majors and anyone concerned about the flaws of mainstream economics – how it has led us into unsustainable ways of living – and who would like to learn about alternatives that are more sustainable..

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Investing in Natural Capital: The Ecological Economics Approach to Sustainability

Jansson, A. M., M. Hammer, C. Folke, and R. Costanza (eds.). 1994.  Island Press.


“Investing in Natural Capital” presents the results of a workshop held following the second biannual conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics. It focuses on the relation of human development to natural capital, and the relation of natural capital to environmental processes.Because we are capable of understanding our impact on the environment and the importance of managing it sustainably, humans play a special role in our ecosystem. The book emphasizes the essential connections between natural ecosystems and human socioeconomic systems, and the importance of insuring that both remain resilient. Specific chapters deal with methodology, case material, and policy questions, and offer a thorough exploration of this provocative and important alternative to conventional economics.

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Ecosystem Health: New Goals for Environmental Management

Costanza, R., B. Norton, and B. J. Haskell (eds.). 1992. Island Press.


“Ecosystem Health” brings together leading ecologists, philosophers, and economists to analyze the issues surrounding the concept of health as it relates to ecosystems. Both theoretical and practical aspects of what constitutes a healthy ecosystem are examined — philosophical and ethical underpinnings as well as implications for public policy and ecosystems management.

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Ecological Economics: The Science and Management of Sustainability

Costanza, R. (ed.). 1991.  Columbia University Press.


Ecological economics is a new transdisciplinary approach to understanding and managing the ecology and economics of our world for sustainability on local, regional, and global scales. The previous isolation of these two fields has led to economic and environmental policies that have been mutually destructive rather than reinforcing in the long term. This book brings together these two disciplines in chapters covering the basic worldview of ecological economics; accounting, modeling, and analysis of ecological economic systems; and necessary institutional changes and case studies.

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