Biodiversity to Biodiversification: A New Economy of Nature?

Debbie-Symons-Cover-of-Berichte-zur Biodiversity to Biodiversification: A New Economy of Nature?, Sabine Höhler, 2014

Summary: This paper explores the relations between economy and ecology in the last quarter of the 20th century with the example of biodiversity. From its definition in the 1980s, the concept of biodiversity responded not only to conservational concerns but also to hopes and demands of economic profitability. The paper argues that archival systems of inventorying and surveying nature, the biodiversity database and the biodiversity portfolio, changed the view on nature from a resource to an investment. The paper studies the alliances of ecologists and environmental economists in managing nature according to economic principles of successful asset management, “diversification”, with the aim to distribute risk, minimize ecological loss and maximize overall ecosystem performance. Finally, the paper discusses the assumptions and the consequences of transferring principles from financial risk management to landscape management. How has the substitution of the existential values of nature by shareholder value affected the relations between ecology, environment, and ecosystem conservation? Who gains and who looses in exchanging natural capital and financial capital, yields, and profits?

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