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Natural And Reproducible Capital And The Sustainability Of Land Use In The Uk


  • Martin Whitby
  • W. Neil Adger


The article reviews the relevant concepts in assessing sustainability at the sector level for British agriculture and forestry. It notes that the use of reproducible capital is not sustainable in the sector as depreciation has exceeded gross fixed capital formation for some years, although that retrenchment may, however, be an appropriate response to expected lower farm prices and increased efficiency in the use of capital. It then exemplifies the problems of measuring the sustainability of use of natural capital by reference to specific problems, namely the release of global pollutants from agriculture and forestry, the economic cost of soil erosion and the economic cost associated with damage to Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). On the basis of a wider review of the context of these changes, it is concluded that the sustainability of primary land use, as currently practised, must await substantial research before positive claims can be made for its overall sustainability.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Whitby & W. Neil Adger, 1996. "Natural And Reproducible Capital And The Sustainability Of Land Use In The Uk," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1‐4), pages 50-65, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jageco:v:47:y:1996:i:1-4:p:50-65
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1477-9552.1996.tb00671.x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Adger, W Neil & Whitby, Martin C, 1993. "Natural-Resource Accounting in the Land-Use Sector: Theory and Practice," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 20(1), pages 77-97.
    2. Thomas P. Holmes, 1988. "The Offsite Impact of Soil Erosion on the Water Treatment Industry," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 64(4), pages 356-366.
    3. Nordhaus, William D., 1993. "Rolling the 'DICE': an optimal transition path for controlling greenhouse gases," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 27-50, March.
    4. Deaton, A. S., 1975. "The measurement of income and price elasticities," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 261-273, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rigby, D. & Caceres, D., 2001. "Organic farming and the sustainability of agricultural systems," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 21-40, April.
    2. Rigby, Dan & Caceres, Daniel, 1997. "The Sustainability of Agricultural Systems," Rural Resources\Rural Livelihoods Working Papers 30574, University of Manchester, Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM).
    3. Harris, Michael & Fraser, Iain, 2002. "Natural resource accounting in theory and practice: A critical assessment," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 46(2), pages 1-54.
    4. Julie Whittaker, 1997. "Natural And Reproducible Capital And The Sustainability Of Land Use In The Uk: A Comment," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1‐3), pages 451-453, January.
    5. Martin C. Whitby & W. Neil Adger, 1997. "Natural And Reproducible Capital And The Sustainability Of Land Use In The Uk: A Reply," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1‐3), pages 454-458, January.
    6. Buckwell, Allan, 2006. "Rural development in the EU," Economia Agraria y Recursos Naturales, Spanish Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 6(12), pages 1-28.
    7. D Rigby & S Brown, 2003. "Organic Food and Global Trade: Is the Market Delivering Agricultural Sustainability?," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 0326, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    8. MacDonald, Daisy V. & Hanley, Nick & Moffatt, Ian, 1999. "Applying the concept of natural capital criticality to regional resource management," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 73-87, April.
    9. Izac, A. -M. N. & Sanchez, P. A., 2001. "Towards a natural resource management paradigm for international agriculture: the example of agroforestry research," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 69(1-2), pages 5-25.

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