Capacities and Tradeoffs Ecological Social Economic
Economic Growth an increase in the production and consumption of goods and services typically expressed in terms of GDP facilitated by increasing: –population –per capita consumption
Time GNP K Natural capital allocated to human economy Natural capital allocated to wildlife Czech, B Economic growth as the limiting factor for wildlife conservation. Wildlife Society Bulletin 28(1):4-14.
Some Empirical Evidence: Causes of Species Endangerment as a Whos Who of the American Economy
Endangerment Causes Urbanization Agriculture Water diversions (e.g., reservoirs) Recreation, tourism development Pollution Domestic livestock, ranching Czech et al Bioscience 50(7):
Causes (cont.) Mineral, gas, oil extraction Non-native species Harvest Modified fire regimes Road construction/maintenance Industrial development Czech et al Bioscience 50(7):
Making sense of the Whos Who with Trophic Theory
PDF files for these articles available at The Wildlife Society website: (Follow links to Wildlife Society Bulletin.)
ESA Listings and GDP $10 $9 $8 $7 $6 $5 $4 $3 R 2 = 98.4
Basic Population Dynamics
K Carrying Capacity Scenarios Individuals Time r-selection K-selection
K and r-selected Species
K Economic Carrying Capacity GDP Time r-selection K-selection
K and r-selected Economies
American GNP, K or r-selected?
But, for the sake of biodiversity conservation, its not enough to hope we are K-selected.
K Wildlife Conservation and Steady State Economy GNP Time...maintain steady state economy sufficiently below K. To conserve wildlife...
But what about Technological Progress?
Technological Progress Vernacular: invention, innovation Technical: increasing productive efficiency resulting from invention and innovation
KTKT GNP Natural capital allocated to human economy Natural capital allocated to non-human economy X natural capital allocable Time KUKU Natural Capital Allocation Revisited
X/2 conserved K1K1 K2K2 GNP Time X natural capital remains allocable KUKU Economic growth with technology level 2 Economic growth with technology level 1 The Big Hope
The Great Debate: Is There a Limit? Yes Physiocrats Classical economists Ecological economists Ecologists No Neoclassical economists Corporations Politicians
Why would there not be a limit? Substitutability of resources Increasing productive efficiency Increasing human capital
White Pine, Big Wheel
Substituting for white pine, employing more efficient technology.
Sitka Spruce, Timbco 435 Feller Buncher
Why would there be a limit? Carrying capacity Thermodynamics Trophic levels
Thermodynamics Fixed amount of matter Entropy Fixed amount of energy
Another look at trophic levels, this time in light of thermodynamics.
Clear to All Without technological progress, GNP limited GNP growth faster than technological progress = trouble
Unclear to Many Technological progress: raising the bar or accelerating the approach? Does technological progress occur without increased consumption?
Consider the Sources Research and development Corporate profit Economies of scale
KTKT GNP Natural capital allocated to human economy Natural capital allocated to non-human economy X natural capital allocable Time KUKU One More Look at Allocation
X/2 conserved K1K1 K2K2 GNP Time X natural capital remains allocable KUKU Economic growth with technology level 2 Economic growth with technology level 1 Remember the Big Hope?
K1K1 K2K2 GNP Time X/2 natural capital allocable KUKU X/2 converted Economic growth with technology level 2 Economic growth with technology level 1 The Apparent Reality
Red Herring Alert!
The Information Economy What is the information used for? How does one come to afford the information?
To say that an economy may grow perpetually on a finite land mass is to say that a stable economy may occupy a perpetually diminishing land mass! Fallacy Buster
= $ $ $ $
Real Questions What is the limit? How do we know when were approaching the limit? What do we do to prevent breaching the limit?
Recommendations Introductions should acknowledge spherical capacities and tradeoffs. Criteria should provide indicators of trading off. Interpretation should include observations of tradeoffs. Does technological progress occur without increased consumption?