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Defining and measuring sustainability : the biogeophysical foundations (English)

This volume is based on papers prepared for the International Conference on the Definition and Measurement of Sustainability: the Biophysical Foundations, which was convened at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. from June 22 to 25, 1992. The primary goal of the conference was to explore the prospects of establishing a scientifically rigorous definition and set of measures for sustainability. The tasks before the conference participants were to make significant progress in: 1) agreeing on a scientific definition of biogeophysical sustainability, 2) providing the biogeophysical framework to complement the social and economic dimensions of an overall measure of sustainability, 3) recommending indicators and biogeophysical measures for monitoring and predicting the sustainability of the major managed ecosystems and finally 4) recommending a scientifically sound and practical set of indices of biogeophysical sustainability. This volume, which presents the highlights of the conference, shows that the participants have indeed taken a major step forward toward realizing the tasks set before them. The conference participants made the following ten general recommendations: 1) more work is needed to refine the definitions and propose the indicators for biogeophysical sustainability; 2) for the purposes of communication, a very simple index is urgently needed; 3) many of the measurements made in temperate agriculture systems could be useful in tropical agricultural systems; 4) for natural ecosystems more knowledge is needed about the driving forces that keep those ecosystems in equilibrium, the natural processes involved, and the location of critical thresholds; 5) ecosystems are high-order nonlinear systems; 6) the significance of large system change is still uncertain; 7) integrating information is a difficult and challenging aspect of many disciplines of science; 8) there appears to be a need to assess the state of the science of sustainability; 9) there must a reorientation and refocus of research in the ecological sciences; and 10) to better deal with all of this, a new discipline dubbed "econology" is proposed. These recommendations indicate the formidable problems that still remain in attempting to agree on a practical scientific definition of and set of measures for sustainability. The volume contains a wealth of thought, discussion, and the debate that will have to be taken into account in the final formulation of the practical definition and set of measures.

Details

  • Author

    Munasinghe, Mohan Shearer, Walter [editors]

  • Document Date

    1995/01/01

  • Document Type

    Publication

  • Report Number

    14835

  • Volume No

    1

  • Total Volume(s)

    1

  • Disclosure Date

    2010/07/01

  • Doc Name

    Defining and measuring sustainability : the biogeophysical foundations

  • Keywords

    international community of scholars;social point of view;sustainable use of resources;renewable source of energy;efficiency of resource use;academy of natural sciences;system of national accounts;international development community;gross national product;national science foundation;health of ecosystems;international agricultural research;concept of sustainability;land and water;Man and Biosphere;Water and Land;flora and fauna;incidence of disease;patterns of consumption;safe drinking water;large marine ecosystem;term of productivity;sense of identity;stratospheric ozone depletion;safe minimum standard;Natural Resource Management;prior written permission;biological diversity;biogeophysical sustainability;primary production;national laboratory;environmental science;human life;cumulative effect;social issue;global change;renewable resource;transition period;human societies;copyright holder;short-term impact;transition phase;long-term impact;social sustainability;species diversity;short term impact;Natural Resources;temperate zone;human beings;world population;historical perspective;organic matter;social dimension;policy option;assessment program;analytical tool;sustainable management;sustainable wildlife;environmental monitoring;industrialized world;adequate provision;arid zone;sustainable agriculture;social structure;natural processes;political aspect;sustainable system;cumulative impact;productivity increase;waste production;biotic component;natural capital;social improvement;energy levels;remote sensing;subsistence economy;ecosystem process;population process;temporal relationship;marine fishery;internal dynamic;inland fishery;organic carbon;grassland sustainability;physical process;natural areas;spatial area;sociocultural objectives;social process;unsustainable use;nonrenewable resource;political sustainability;implementing policy;predictive power;average production;water course;food productivity;environmental problem;human dimension;risk model;risk aversion;social factor;scientific community;social tension;ecological component;Waste Material;human welfare;ecosystem health;aggregate index;primary focus;sustainable ecosystem;water quality;Environmental Assessment;trade representative;environmental statistics;consumption pattern;environmental study;international conservation;environmental consultant;range management;sustainable landscape;food web;ecological model;carbon dioxide;ultraviolet radiation;program leader;production process;soil science;population study;ecological sciences;evolutionary biology;conservation officer;research scientist;measurement scales;toxic substance;biological organism;poverty eradication;primary productivity;scientific definition;environmental indicator;upland forests;tropical biodiversity;tropical water;hydrologic cycle;ecosystem integrity;agenda 21;organic product;terrestrial ecosystem;natural biological;agriculture system;global management;driving force;ecosystem assessment;health index;marginal land;tree crop;land use;traditional knowledge;monitoring program;geographical entity;Regional Studies;price system;pastoral management;pastoral ecosystem;biological system;grazing land;natural ecosystem;conservation management;acid rain;commercial purpose;tropical rangeland;ecosystem function;environmental damage;environmental degradation;environmental asset;macro level;cost-benefit analysis;environmental sustainability;temperate forest;management strategy;urgent attention;support system;scientific progress;future option;landscape level;leading scientists;policy relationship;social construct;

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Citation

Munasinghe, Mohan Shearer, Walter [editors]

Defining and measuring sustainability : the biogeophysical foundations (English). Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/328001468764998700/Defining-and-measuring-sustainability-the-biogeophysical-foundations