The Age of Ecological Scarcity

  • Edward B. Barbier


A critical problem facing humankind today is the rapid disappearance and degradation of many ecosystems worldwide. For the first time in history, fossil fuel energy and raw material use, environmental degradation and pollution has occurred on such an unprecedented scale that the resulting consequences in terms of global warming, ecosystem decline and environmental degradation are generating worldwide impacts. As a consequence, we are on the verge of a new era, the “Age of Ecological Scarcity”.1


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  1. 1.
    See Edward B. Barbier (2011) Scarcity and Frontiers: How Economies Have Developed Through Natural Resource Exploitation. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
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    For more discussion of this approach to accounting for ecological capital, see Edward B. Barbier (2012) “Ecosystem Services and Wealth Accounting”, chapter 8 in UNU-IHDP-UNEP (2012) Inclusive Wealth Report 20 12, op.cit., pp. 165–194.Google Scholar
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  40. 26.
    Although this approach to accounting for the contributions of and any changes to ecological capital appear straightforward, in practice there are numerous issues and challenges that need to be overcome. For further discussion, see Edward B. Barbier (2014) “Challenges to Ecosystem Service Valuation and Wealth Accounting”, chapter 7 in United Nations University (UNU)-International Human Dimensions Programme (IHDP) on Global Environmental Change;Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Edward B. Barbier 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward B. Barbier
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WyomingUSA

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