A meeting of economic and ecological minds

In the face of global environmental degradation and biodiversity loss, driven by population growth and economic activity, Monash researchers are working together to bridge the gap between economics and ecology.

With the vision for a more sustainable future, a workshop was recently held by Monash economists and ecologists to explore the possibilities of working together in a transdisciplinary approach.

Dr Paulo Santos and Dr Anke Leroux, from the Department of Economics, together with Professor Ralph Mac Nally from the School of Biological Sciences, organised the workshop to develop a platform for new collaborations.

“The potential for collaboration between environmental and resource economists and ecologists is virtually limitless,” Professor Mac Nally said.

“The meeting was a great opportunity to explore how economists and ecologists can complement each other to achieve better environmental outcomes in the future. It was clear there were several immediate collaborations and others that could be developed over the next few years."

Promising areas for collaboration were identified, ranging from the potential impacts of avian malaria in the Torres Strait region, to the future of Antarctica, and the ways that lake and ocean fisherman differ in their cooperativeness in Brazil.

“The workshop was a great success and will hopefully mark the beginning of many collaborative research projects between ecologists and economists at Monash,” Dr Leroux said.

Visiting Professor from Cornell University in the US, Chris Barrett, also attended the workshop discussing development economics and environmental consequences.