Ecological-Economic Viability as a Criterion of Strong Sustainability under Uncertainty

31 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2007 Last revised: 2 Jun 2014

See all articles by Stefan Baumgärtner

Stefan Baumgärtner

University of Freiburg - Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Martin F. Quaas

German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

Date Written: November 1, 2007

Abstract

Strong sustainability, according to the common definition, requires that different natural and economic capital stocks be maintained as physical quantities separately. Yet, in a world of uncertainty this cannot be guaranteed. To therefore define strong sustainability under uncertainty in an operational manner we propose to use the concept of viability. Viability means that the different components and functions of a dynamic, stochastic system at any time remain in a domain where the future existence of these components and functions is guaranteed with sufficiently high probability. We develop a unifying and general ecological-economic concept of viability that encompasses the traditional ecological and economic notions of viability as special cases. It provides an operational criterion of strong sustainability under a mild form of uncertainty and for medium spatial and temporal scales. We illustrate this concept and demonstrate its usefulness by applying it to livestock grazing management in semi-arid rangelands.

Keywords: capital (natural and economic), ecological-economic systems, ecosystem services, funds, rangeland management, stocks, sustainability, uncertainty, viability

JEL Classification: D81, Q01, Q57

Suggested Citation

Baumgärtner, Stefan and Quaas, Martin F., Ecological-Economic Viability as a Criterion of Strong Sustainability under Uncertainty (November 1, 2007). Ecological Economics, 68(7), 2008-2020. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1032113

Stefan Baumgärtner (Contact Author)

University of Freiburg - Department of Environment and Natural Resources ( email )

Tennebacher Str. 4
Freiburg, 79106
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.ere.uni-freiburg.de

Martin F. Quaas

German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig ( email )

Deutscher Platz 5e
Leipzig, 04103
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.idiv.de/bioecon

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
242
Abstract Views
2,153
rank
124,610
PlumX Metrics