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Environmental and Natural Resources Economics


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Economic analysis of agricultural problems associated with use of renewable and nonrenewable environmental and natural resources.

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How can we create a sustainable society that protects the environment while maintaining a prosperous society? Why have humans caused environmental degradation on local, regional, and global scales, and what can we do about it? Public officials, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses need professionals who can answer these questions in order to design a new sustainable world.

Economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources, including how markets function and how incentives affect people’s, businesses’ and institutions’ behavior.

Within economics, environmental and natural resource economics is the application of the principles of economics to the study of how environmental and natural resources are developed and managed. It focuses on weighing the private and public implications of choices that we make ranging from a local through a global scale. Learners will apply economic tools to evaluate the allocation and utilization of natural resources and the management of the natural environment within agriculture.

Learners will also focus on the importance of agricultural economics through the analysis of agricultural problems associated with socially optimal use of renewable and nonrenewable natural resources over time including problems of common property resources, irreversible forms of development, and preservation of natural areas. This course will also examine the effects of economic growth on the environment; application of economic theory of external diseconomies, cost-benefit analysis, program budgeting, and welfare economics to problems in an agricultural environment.

With increasing competition for limited land, water and other natural resources throughout the world, as well as growing concern about environmental degradation, there is a growing need for professionals who can assist in the process of balancing economic and environmental tradeoffs. Learners will be well-prepared upon completion of the course to contribute to the goals of organizations and agencies in both the private and public sectors by providing a strong basis to guide policy and management choices that directly and indirectly affect our environment.

  • Assess effects of human non-judicious use of natural resources resulting in agricultural problems and environmental degradation
  • Apply environmental economic theory to the allocation and utilization of natural resources
  • Analyze the effects of economic growth on the environment and agricultural practices
  • Through evaluation of current environmental policy, the learner will be able to propose policy modifications to inform new policy that realizes better ecosystems services.
Environmental and Natural Resources Economics
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