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Integrating Ecology and Economics in the Study of Ecosystem Services: Some Lessons Learned

  • Stephen Polasky
  • Kathleen Segerson


    (Department of Applied Economics and Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108
    Department of Economics, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269)

This paper discusses both the opportunities for and the challenges associated with integrating economics and ecology in the study of ecosystem services. We distinguish between integration in positive versus normative analysis. There is rapid growth in positive research that combines the two disciplines to provide insight and better understanding of the bidirectional linkage between economic and ecological systems. This research is a crucial part of addressing growing large-scale environmental challenges. This integration is equally important, but potentially much more difficult, in normative analysis, especially when interdisciplinary groups include individuals with different views regarding appropriate normative criteria. In such cases, reaching consensus can be difficult and slow, even when the practical implications of the different perspectives (i.e., the general policy prescriptions they imply) are the same. We suggest an approach for increasing the scope for collaboration among economists and ecologists in normative analysis.

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Article provided by Annual Reviews in its journal Annual Review of Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (09)
Pages: 409-434

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Handle: RePEc:anr:reseco:v:1:y:2009:p:409-434
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