learning objectivesAfter reading this chapter you will be familiar with the following:
• ecology as a scientific field of study;
• an ecosystem and its structures and functions;
• a biocentric conception of the origin of natural resources;
• the natural law governing material recycling and energy transformation and their economic implications;
• ecodynamics: ecological succession, stability, equilibrium, resilience and complexity;
• the notion of ecological limits and their implications for the human economy;
• the ecological or biocentric view of the human economy: the economy as a subsystem of the natural ecosystem;
• a perspective on humans’ historical treatment of the natural world;
• a perspective on the disciplinary ties between ecology and economics.
No serious student of environmental economics can afford to ignore the subject matter of “ecology,” the widely embracing science which looks at the interrelationship between living species and their habitats.