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Managing Nature's Portfolio: Risk, Diversity and Performance in the New Ecosystem Economy
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science, Technology and Environment.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0866-0487
2013 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper approaches a recent strategy to reconcile economy and ecology. System ecologists and environmental economists alike have proposed to manage nature according to a principle of successful asset management – diversification – in order to distribute risk, minimize ecological losses and maximize overall ecosystem performance. In the paper I will first address the definition of biodiversity in the 1980s as responding not only to conservational concerns but also to demands of economic efficiency and profitability. Second, I will explore how natural diversity was conceptualized in the terms of the portfolio and how portfolio selection theory has been applied to landscape management. Finally, I will discuss some of the assumptions and consequences of transferring principles from financial risk management to ecosystem conservation: What does it mean to merge natural and financial capital, yields and profits? Who gains and who looses from replacing existential values of nature by shareholder values?

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URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-137082OAI: diva2:677934
Higher Seminar History of Science and Ideas, Umeå University, May 21, 2013

QC 20140204

Available from: 2013-12-10 Created: 2013-12-10 Last updated: 2014-02-04Bibliographically approved

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History of Science, Technology and Environment

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