Research Report 2007

Natures Capital

Most Canadians recognize the importance of the natural environment in enhancing our quality of life in Canada. Our forests, freshwater, oceans, and wildlife generate wealth, provide recreational opportunities, and help us define who we are, in our own eyes and in the eyes of the world. However, simply recognizing the 'importance' of nature may not necessarily lead to us taking concrete actions to ensure that it is adequately protected.

Sustaining and enhancing the "natural capital" that provides Canadians with valuable environmental services requires investment. To make wise investment choices, we must understand the costs and benefits of various actions that impact natural capital and what trade-offs Canadians are willing to make between environmental quality and other factors impacting their quality of life.

Portrait of Dr. Rudd

Dr. Rudd

As Canada Research Chair in Ecological Economics, Dr. Rudd will focus primarily on three issues. First, the recreational and 'non-use' benefits of natural capital will be assessed using economic valuation surveys. A second area of focus will be on quantifying the costs of environmental conservation to private and public sectors. Thirdly, cost-benefit results will be used in policy models that explore when, where, and how to best invest societal resources to achieve ecological and socio-economic sustainability.

This research program will help Canadian industries better use our environmental endowments as a source of competitive advantage (e.g., the burgeoning Newfoundlandecotourism industry). It will also help craft cost-effective, fair policies that take account of the full spectrum of costs and benefits of natural capital to Canadian society.

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