Critical natural capital: a socio-cultural perspective

Critical natural capital: a socio-cultural perspective Critical natural capital (CNC) is commonly defined as that part of the natural environment, which performs important and irreplaceable functions. So far, the challenge to determine the criticality of natural capital (NC) has mainly been taken up by the natural sciences, and the critical functions of nature mainly associated with its life-support and ecological services. Little attention has been paid to the socio-cultural functions of NC and to their values for the health and well being of human societies. The aim of this paper is to encourage a more complete accounting of the critical functions of NC and its associated values, by highlighting the importance of the information functions (health, recreation, amenity, education, heritage, etc.) for the quality and sustainability of human life. It is argued that, despite their immaterial and often intangible nature, these functions provide many, socio–economic benefits, which might be assessed through both qualitative and quantitative valuation methodologies. Integration of ecology, sociology and economics is essential to operationalize the concept of CNC as a tool for more balanced environmental planning and decision making. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ecological Economics Elsevier

Critical natural capital: a socio-cultural perspective

Ecological Economics, Volume 44 (2) – Mar 1, 2003

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0921-8009
D.O.I.
10.1016/S0921-8009(02)00275-6
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Critical natural capital (CNC) is commonly defined as that part of the natural environment, which performs important and irreplaceable functions. So far, the challenge to determine the criticality of natural capital (NC) has mainly been taken up by the natural sciences, and the critical functions of nature mainly associated with its life-support and ecological services. Little attention has been paid to the socio-cultural functions of NC and to their values for the health and well being of human societies. The aim of this paper is to encourage a more complete accounting of the critical functions of NC and its associated values, by highlighting the importance of the information functions (health, recreation, amenity, education, heritage, etc.) for the quality and sustainability of human life. It is argued that, despite their immaterial and often intangible nature, these functions provide many, socio–economic benefits, which might be assessed through both qualitative and quantitative valuation methodologies. Integration of ecology, sociology and economics is essential to operationalize the concept of CNC as a tool for more balanced environmental planning and decision making.

Journal

Ecological EconomicsElsevier

Published: Mar 1, 2003

References

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