The New Economy of Nature

Title: The New Economy of Nature: The Quest to Make Conservation Profitable
Published by: Island Press
Release Date: September 1, 2003
Contributors: Co-authored with Gretchen Daily
Pages: 260
ISBN13: 978-1559631549
Buy the Book: AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBound


Why shouldn't people who deplete our natural assets have to pay, and those who protect them reap profits? Conservation-minded entrepreneurs and others around the world are beginning to ask just that question, as the increasing scarcity of natural resources becomes a tangible threat to our own lives and our hopes for our children. The New Economy of Nature brings together Gretchen Daily, one of the world's leading ecologists, with Katherine Ellison, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, to offer an engaging and informative look at a new "new economy"a system recognizing the economic value of natural systems and the potential profits in protecting them.

Through engaging stories from around the world, the authors introduce readers to a diverse group of people who are pioneering new approaches to conservation. We meet Adam Davis, an American business executive who dreams of establishing a market for buying and selling "ecosystem service units;" John Wamsley, a former math professor in Australia who has found a way to play the stock market and protect native species at the same time; and Dan Janzen, a biologist working in Costa Rica who devised a controversial plan to sell a conservation area's natural waste-disposal services to a local orange juice producer. Readers also visit the Catskill Mountains, where the City of New York purchased undeveloped land instead of building an expensive new water treatment facility; and King County, Washington, where county executive Ron Sims has dedicated himself to finding ways of "making the market move" to protect the county's remaining open space.

Daily and Ellison describe the dynamic interplay of science, economics, business, and politics that is involved in establishing these new approaches and examine what will be needed to create successful models and lasting institutions for conservation. The New Economy of Nature presents a fundamentally new way of thinking about the environment and about the economy, and with its fascinating portraits of charismatic pioneers, it is as entertaining as it is informative.


"Put together an outstanding scientist, and outstanding writer, and an outstanding idea made refreshingly compelling: the result is a lively and outstanding book. Daily and Ellison show us why conservation pays."
Jared Diamond

"The true value of Nature has usually been neglected in human activity. That can no longer be the case. Here, in a lively and readable book, environmental capital is included in the economic equation, and the power of this approach is shown through vivid example."
Gordon E. Moore, co-founder and chairman emeritus of Intel Corporation

"Daily and Ellison provide a clear vision of an economy that would reverse environmental degradation and restore both people and place. The examples they describe are compelling, full of hope, and ripe for replication."
Paul Hawken

"Public action and private philanthropy on behalf of conservation will be limited in scope in a free enterprise economy; harnessing the motives that have led to much progress in production is also needed. The authors have delineated the new movement to make conservation of natural resources financially rewarding and illustrate in a lively and probing manner many cases of profitable activities that also preserve the biosphere."
Kenneth J. Arrow