Investing in natural capital

Investing in natural capital

178 Book Reviews perhaps issued prematurely before such methodological disagreements could be narrowed down. The new guidelines, as issued, appear t...

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178

Book Reviews

perhaps issued prematurely before such methodological disagreements could be narrowed down. The new guidelines, as issued, appear to lack a definite purpose, are too complex and, as stated earlier, leave the core accounts unadjusted. This very thoughtful work provides an excellent introduction to the subject of Green Accounting and shows the way for advancing the topic. WWF should be commended for commissioning and publishing it. However, it would have been even more valuable if more space had been given to an evaluation of the various empirical results cited, and if the adjustments to the accounts empirically made (which are shown sometimes in local currencies and only in absolute terms) were expressed as percentages of the unadjusted measurements, and if the discount rate employed under the User Cost approach (apparently quite widely applied for adjusting income from depletable resources) were specified and critically evaluated, since the size of the adjustment to the accounts depends crucially on this parameter. Salah E1 Serafy The World Bank Environment Department 3118 North 17th Street Arlington, VA 22201 USA

Investing in natural capital Investing in Natural Capital, edited by AnnMari Jansson, Monica Hammer, Carl Folke, Robert Costanza. Island Press, Washington, DC, USA. This book on Investing in Natural Capital resulted from a workshop and the second biannual Conference of ISEE, held in 1992 in Stockholm, Sweden. The institutions organizing the conference were: Department of Systems Ecology and the Natural Resources and Environmental Research Center at Stockholm University; the Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics; the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences; the International Society for Ecological Economics; and the University of Maryland International Institute for Ecological Economics.

The 26 chapters deal with the why, what and how of ecological economics, methods applied to the studies of natural capital, and policy implications for environmental management. Thus, this is a comprehensive treatment of the subject of ecological economics which provides an excellent academic text for researchers who focus on the interface of the social and natural sciences. The information provided in this unique collection of papers on ecological economics confirms that environmental resources are fundamental to sustained economy. Information found in Investing in Natural Capital documents that land, energy, and biological resources are interdependent and their availability determines the soundness of the economy and ultimately the quality of life enjoyed by society. Highlighted are the changes needed in policies to control growth in the U.S. and world population as well as the economy to ensure that environmental resources are protected and conserved for future generations. The book addresses a diversity of issues, such as: operationalizing sustainable development; the carrying capacity of the earth and ecological footprints; knowledge of ecosystem properties and the value of environmental functions and how to model them; biological diversity; resource flows and resource management from particular resources to drainage basins and economies as a whole; management implications for complex and integrated social, ecological, economic systems; adaptive management and other strategies for an environmentally sound economic development; human and cultural capital and ethics; and finally six chapters with various policy recommendations. Because the subject of ecological economics is broad and includes the participation of economists, ecologists, conservationists, geographers, anthropologists, sociologists, agriculturists, foresters, and others, the audience for this book is itself broad. This is a well-written book for a variety of academic courses at universities worldwide. I strongly recommend this as an outstanding resource. David Pimentel College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853 USA