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From Natural Resources to Natural Assets

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  • James Boyce

Abstract

This article examines the scope for strategies to build natural assets in the hands of low-income individuals and communities. Natural assets include sources of raw materials such as forests and fisheries, and the airsheds, lands, and water bodies that provide "environmental sinks" for the disposal of wastes. These resources become assets when people have rights to access their benefits. Four strategies for natural asset-building are identified: investment to increase the total stock of natural assets; redistribution to transfer natural assets from others; internalization to increase the ability of the poor to capture benefits generated by their stewardship of natural assets; and appropriation to establish rights for the poor to open-access resources. Building on the democratic principle that all individuals have equal rights to clean air, clean water, and other common heritage resources, these strategies simultaneously can advance the goals of poverty reduction, environmental protection, and environmental justice.

Suggested Citation

  • James Boyce, 2001. "From Natural Resources to Natural Assets," Published Studies ps13, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  • Handle: RePEc:uma:perips:ps13
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    File URL: https://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/published_study/PS13.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Brooks, Nancy & Sethi, Rajiv, 1997. "The Distribution of Pollution: Community Characteristics and Exposure to Air Toxics," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 233-250, February.
    2. Anderson, Johan & Vadnjal, Dan & Uhlin, Hans-Erik, 2000. "Moral dimensions of the WTA-WTP disparity: an experimental examination," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 153-162, January.
    3. K.A. Dixon, 2001. "Reclaiming Brownfields: From Corporate Liability to Community Asset," Working Papers wp10, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    4. Manuel Pastor, 2004. "Building Social Capital to Protect Natural Capital: The Quest for Environmental Justice," Working Papers wp11, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    5. Mark D. Shapiro & Steven M. Hassur & Nicholaas W. Bouwes, 2001. "Empowerment Through Risk-Related Information: EPA's Risk Screening Environmental Indicators Project," Working Papers wp18, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    6. Boyce, James K., 1994. "Inequality as a cause of environmental degradation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 169-178, December.
    7. James Boyce, 1994. "Inequality as a Cause of Environmental Degradation," Published Studies ps1, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    8. Sunita Narain & Anil Agarwal, 2000. "Redressing Ecological Poverty Through Participatory Democracy: Case Studies from India," Working Papers wp36, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    9. Brown, Thomas C. & Gregory, Robin, 1999. "Why the WTA-WTP disparity matters," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 323-335, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Kurien, 2003. "The blessing of the commons: Small-scale fisheries, community property rights and coastal natural assets," Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum Working Papers 349, Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum, India.
    2. John Kurien, 2010. "The Blessing of the Commons: Small-scale Fisheries, Community Property Rights and Coastal Natural Assets," Working Papers id:2988, eSocialSciences.
    3. John Kurien, 2004. "The Blessing of the Commons: Small Scale Fisheries, Community Property Rights, and Coastal Natural Assets," Working Papers wp72, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    4. Kojo Sebastian Amanor, 2003. "Natural and Cultural Assets and Participatory Forest Management in West Africa," Working Papers wp75, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

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