Ecosystem Services & Natural Capital: Reconceiving Environmental Management

NYU Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2008

Breaking the Logjam: Environmental Reform for the New Congress and Administration Paper

30 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2009

Abstract

This Article considers how the twin concepts of "ecosystem services" and "natural capital" can help inform and improve environmental policy, particularly land and water protection, in the United States and globally. It identifies three possible benefits to greater understanding of the concept of ecosystem services: enhanced public support for protecting land and water; the creation of new markets for protecting land and water; and the expansion of criteria, beyond human health protection, for broadening environmental protection measures and measuring their success. The author argues that the first two benefits remain largely unrealized and suggests steps that could be taken to realize them. He emphasizes, however, that the final justification for focusing attention on ecosystem services - that they can provide broadened criteria for environmental regulation, help evaluate tradeoffs, and measure regulatory success - is perhaps the most important.

Suggested Citation

Thompson, Barton H., Ecosystem Services & Natural Capital: Reconceiving Environmental Management. NYU Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2008, Breaking the Logjam: Environmental Reform for the New Congress and Administration Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1367293

Barton H. Thompson (Contact Author)

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States
650-723-2518 (Phone)
650-725-8509 (Fax)

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