Ecosystem Health: New Goals for Environmental Management

Front Cover
Robert Costanza, Bryan G. Norton, Benjamin D. Haskell
Island Press, 1992 - Science - 269 pages
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As environmental regulatory and management agencies (most notably the Environmental Protection Agency) move toward a broad set of management goals to protect ecosystem health, developing an adequate definition for "ecosystem health" has become increasingly important. This work is a multidisciplinary collection of perspectives on the concept of health as it relates to ecosystems. The contributors - leading ecologists, philosophers, and economists - analyze the normative, conceptual, and biological issues surrounding the idea of ecosystem health. They examine both theoretical and practical aspects of the issues, and look at philosophical and ethical underpinnings as well as implications for public policy and ecosystems management. Ecosystem Health is a groundbreaking attempt to formulate an understanding of the quality and health of natural environments so that regulatory mandates can be brought in line with legislative goals. Ultimately, it seeks a new ethic of sustainability that will serve to protect the vital processes of nature.
  

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Contents

A New Paradigm for Environmental Management
23
Aldo Leopolds Metaphor
42
Has Nature a Good of Its Own?
57
Toward an Open Future Ignorance Novelty and Evolution
72
Environmental Existentialism
97
Environmental Therapeutic Nihilism
124
Science and Policy
133
Ecosystem Health and Ecological Theories
135
Establishing Ecosystem Threshold Criteria
157
Alternative Models of Ecosystem Restoration
170
Ecosystem Health and Trophic Flow Networks
190
Measures of Economic and Ecological Health
207
Ecological Integrity Protecting Earths Life Support Systems
223
Toward an Operational Definition of Ecosystem Health
239
INDEX
257
CONTRIBUTORS
266

What Is Clinical Ecology?
144

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 9 - An ecological system is healthy and free from "distress syndrome" if it is stable and sustainable that is, if it is active and maintains its organization and autonomy over time and is resilient to stress.

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About the author (1992)

Robert Costanza is Gordon Gund Professor of Ecological Economics and Director of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont.

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