Ecological Economics is the study of relationships and interactions between economies and the ecosystems that support them. It is an interdisciplinary collaboration of economics, ecology and other social and natural sciences that aims to understand what sustainability is and how it can be achieved.
The following are some of the broad research questions that Ecological Economics explores:
Modeling: How can we better integrate economic and ecological models to address management of local biodiversity, an ocean fishery, or the climate services of the global atmosphere?
Equity: How does equity between individual people, nations, and over generations relate to sustainability?
Sustainability Indicators: Can we redirect development by augmenting traditional indicators such as GDP (gross domestic product) with biophysical indicators such as ecological footprint and social indicators such as the education of women?
Limits: What properties of ecological and social systems act as “limits” to development and to what extent can human-produced capital substitute for natural capital?
Trade & Development: How do current policies to promote development through capital mobility affect the control of natural resources, the ability of nations to manage environmental systems, and the distribution of well-being?
Valuation: To what extent can we measure the value of non-market services provided by ecosystems and how can we promote public discourse on environmental and social values that significantly enriches economic measures?
Policy Instruments: How should systems of tradable environmental permits and obligations, combined with environmental tax reform, be implemented?
For more information about ecological economics, including an online encyclopaedia about ecological economics, please visit The International Society of Ecological Economics (ISEE) website.