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Biodiversification: A New Economy of Nature?
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science and Technology (name changed 20120201).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0866-0487
2013 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Today biodiversity is regarded as the vital requirement for the survival for nature and life on earth. However, when the concept of biodiversity was formulated in the 1980s, its definition responded not only to conservational concerns but also to economic principles held to be essential for maintaining nature’s service functions. The perception of nature as service provider supplying humans with ecosystem goods and services emerged along with the rising service economy in the last third of the twentieth century. While service economy rested on human capital the new service ecology built on natural capital, and biodiversity became the central prerequisite of maintaining capital stock. Against this background the paper explores the recent approach of environmental economics to conceive of ecosystems as “portfolios” to be managed according to the principles of financial systems. If an ecosystem is diversified cleverly, so the idea, risks can be distributed and losses minimized, ecosystem performance will be optimized, benefits realized, and the overall ecosystem response diversity and resilience will increase. Biodiversity portfolio management claims to be able to buffer and dynamically adapt nature to external pressures and to maintain ecosystem functionality even after severe external crises and catastrophes. The paper studies these practices of ‘biodiversification’ to discuss how the New Economy of Nature, in its pursuit of nature conservation, transformed the formerly critical concept of natural capital into a resource of market-based solutions to sustainability questions.

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URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-137081OAI: diva2:677931
The History of Technology and Science Days, Umeå University, March 20-22.

QC 20140203

Available from: 2013-12-10 Created: 2013-12-10 Last updated: 2016-04-19Bibliographically approved

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Höhler, Sabine
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