Conservation: Economics, science, and policy

Charles Perrings, Ann Kinzig

Research output: Book/ReportBook

3 Scopus citations


This book explores the process by which people decide to conserve or convert natural resources. Building on a seminal study by Harold Hotelling that connects conservation to expected changes in the value of resources, the authors develop the general principles involved in conservation science. The focus of the book is the resources of the natural environment. This includes both directly exploited resources such as agricultural soils, minerals, forests, and fish stocks, and biodiversity-the wild species and natural ecosystems put at risk when people choose to convert natural habitat, or to discharge waste products to water, land, or air. The theory of conservation shows how much or how little to extract from the environment, and how much to leave intact. It also shows how conservation decisions are influenced by the existence of market failures-the external impacts of market decisions on ecosystems, and the public good nature of many ecosystem services. It shows how conservation connects to expected changes in the relative importance or value of natural resources, and what is needed to uncover that value. It shows how context matters. Decisions about the conservation of natural resources are influenced by property rights-whether land is private property or in the public domain; by environmental policies, laws, and regulations within countries; and by environmental agreements between countries. Finally, this book shows how conservation differs within and beyond protected areas, how it connects to the system of environmental governance, and how governance structures have evolved over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages399
ISBN (Electronic)9780190613600
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation economics
  • Conservation policy
  • Conservation science
  • Environmental agreements
  • Environmental externalities
  • Environmental public goods
  • Environmental regulation
  • Protected areas
  • Valuation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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