The ecology and economics of biodiversity loss: the research agenda

Charles Perrings, C. Folke, K. G. Maler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

118 Scopus citations


Regarding humans as co-actors with other species in complex self-organizing systems, the authors focus on the sustainability of resource use. In the context of biological conservation, this implies maintenance of sufficient biodiversity to assure the resilience of ecosystems delivering ecological services of fundamental value to human societies. The paper identifies four sets of research issues: the first comprises a set of ecological questions about the nature, measurement and consequences of change in biological diversity, both globally and at the level of particular ecosystems. The second concerns the economic valuation of ecological services as a means of judging the economic significance of biodiversity loss. The third concerns the driving forces behind biodiversity loss. It deals with both the proximate and underlying causes of change in the level of biodiversity. The fourth concerns the scope for changing the human behaviour which threatens biodiversity, whether through the destruction of habitat, through specialization in production, or through harvesting strategies. The nature of the linkage between ecological and economic systems is discussed in the context of informational, institutional, ethical and cultural conditions. The paper takes a systems perspective emphasizing the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to biodiversity, and the gains from collaborative research. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAmbio
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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