Restoration of natural capital: A key strategy on the path to sustainability


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Restoration of natural capital: A key strategy on the path to sustainability

Restoration of natural capital: A key strategy on the path to sustainability

James Blignaut, James Aronson, Rudolf de Groot. Ecological Engineering

Abstract
Three intertwining braids or strategies to enable transition towards sustainability can be identified,namely: (i) appropriate sustainable technologies, (ii) revising behaviour including reproduction and con-sumption patterns, and (iii) investment in the restoration of natural capital (RNC). Less explored than thefirst two, “RNC-thinking” might be the game-changer. Recent evidence suggests that not only is restora-tion urgently required from a biophysical perspective, but also that it makes eminently good economicsense to make that investment. The alternative to this triple approach is the prevailing paradigm thattreats the world as if it were a “business in liquidation”, as pathfinder economist Herman Daly put it. Notonly is the restoration of natural capital both ecologically and economically beneficial, as indicated hereinwith benefit–cost ratios varying between (on average) 0.4 (for coastal systems) and 110 (for coastal wet-lands including mangroves) with the majority of ecosystems recording an average of an BC-ratio of about10, it also holds an important key to unlock future sustainable growth and development trajectories.

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