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Ginny Johnson

I was really intrigued by Krutilla’s suggestion that a major solution for land conservation should be the determining of “a minimum reserve to avoid potentially grossly adverse consequences for human welfare” (pg. 785). This idea seemed reductive to me (perhaps as a minimum is wont to do), but particularly for someone who had, earlier in this article, discussed how important serendipity is with discovering things within Nature. If serendipity, by its very nature, cannot be anticipated, then how could a minimum be established on land to be protected? Particularly a minimum that is “but a small fraction of one per cent of the total relevant area” (pg. 785)? It seems like that would exclude a massive amount of potential serendipity.

I’m also interested in his suggestion that natural resources will decrease in necessity as technology advances and more substitutes are discovered. He suggests that these substitutes should come from “industrial and agriculture sectors” (pg. 784), but where do industrial and, more importantly, agricultural sectors get their inputs if not from the environment? How could it be possible to consider a resource from agriculture-- which is inherently plants or animals and, in almost all cases, requires some element of the land (i.e. soil)-- not a natural resource?

Dani Murray

Throughout the article, Kurtilla emphasized the need to balance the economic profit of natural resources but also the value of protecting these nature resources. It is troubling that today as a society we still struggle to find the ideal balance between profit and protection. In today's world, we are so wrapped up in making money that we don't even realize we are destroying our planet's natural resources at alarming rates. Government spending has shifted away from conversation efforts towards spending that will in the long run produce greater returns. Did you know that "there were more than 281 million recreational visits to our national parks last year, yet this year Congress slashed funding for all of our parks?" (see link below) Without proper funding, we cannot properly protect and preserve the land and the creatures that call these parks home.

The value of nature is widely under-appreciated in today's society. I am was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. I love the beauty of the Rocky Mountains and the rolling foothills. But over the past 21 years, Denver has continued to expand it's city limits. The once beautiful plains of Colorado have been developed. Denver's population has grown approximately 20% since 2010 with no signs of stopping. When will people realize this rapid growth is causing great destruction to our natural resources and the intrinsic value of nature.


Walker Morris

"Conservation Reconsidered" by John Krutilla is a fascinating article with a unique outlook on future approaches to conservation. Krutilla primarily views nature as a good within society's economy; considering the demand for nature through the public desire for recreational activity and sightseeing, and the supply of nature as inelastic and virtually impossible to reproduce. Early in the article, Krutilla makes an interesting point that the diminishing access to "unspoiled natural environments" is a market failure as current and future generations will have less access to these natural wonders than their predecessors. While progress has certainly been made since Krutilla wrote this article, I agree with his assessment and believe that further action should be taken in both the public and private sectors to buy back partially used land and transform it into a conserved natural environment. Krutilla points out that being an effective businessman is rarely compatible with being a good conservationist, but he also notes that demand for outdoor activities is on the rise, which could finally create a real market for preservation. Today, I believe that Krutilla's dream of a market for preservation has come true. While great strides are still needed, the Nature Conservancy has served as an excellent leader in the investment of land for conservation. I have seen this first hand in the small farming community of my cousins, where local environmentalists and the town government have begun buying uncultivated land from local farmers to establish environmental sanctuaries. Since this process began about ten years ago, a market for using these sanctuaries has emerged. Now, some of the most popular activities in the town include hiking, biking, and camping in these new sanctuaries.
Lastly, I found the concept of "option demand" to be particularly interesting. Krutilla defines this as "a willingness to pay for retaining an option to use an area or facility that would be impossible to replace and for which no close substitute is available." In the context of environmental economics, option demand is essentially the willingness to buy natural land that has been minimally impacted by society's development. The reason why option demand stands out to me is because it applies to anyone interested in buying land for the purpose preserving it. Krutilla points out that option demand can exist at many different levels. It can apply to anything from a national government buying large tracts of land, to smaller stakeholders supporting preservation causes like the World Wildlife Fund. For this reason he states that option demand extends to individuals who simply invest in the conservation of a certain species or ecological phenomenon. Overall, I agree with most of Krutilla's points, even though I take what he would describe as an "optimistic" view of the future of preservation and the role that industries play in combatting issues like pollution and deforestation.

Joey Dunn

When I started reading Krutilla’s Conservation Reconsidered, I expected to finish reading it having gained a better understanding of how we can estimate the true value of various natural resources. However, when I finished I was left with more questions and a realization that such a task was far more complex than I had anticipated. Krutilla uses both philosophical and logistical arguments to make this exact point. Krutilla acknowledges that advancements in technology sometimes have the ability to replace natural ecosystem services, and in some cases will be required if we are to realistically give the next generation the same opportunities to achieve prosperity. However, Krutilla also argues that there are some natural recourses cannot be artificially replaced, thus it is imperative to protect them. Furthermore, Krutilla argues that even some of the natural resources and services that can be replaced may still never reach the same value of the natural version. Much of this argument revolves around the intrinsic value of various natural objects, landscapes, and organisms. This is the most complicated aspect of the conversation because it is seemingly impossible to accurately estimate/ take into account intrinsic value.

Ashley M Johnston

Krutilla’s “Conservation Reconsidered” bundles economic and environmental interests into his piece in a beautiful and thoughtful way. He strategically highlights the uniqueness of natural environments in regards to the market, and why markets fail both in perfectly pricing and in other theoretical novels. One particular quote – “it is impossible to determine whether the market allocation is efficient or inefficient,” stood out to me because we continually study why markets are inefficient in the case of environmental allocation. Krutilla points out that even when we try to fix market failures, the market is so massive and complex, we will never know if we have it right.

Another unique feature of environmental economics is that there is no close substitute, and it is impossible to truly replace natural environments/resources after human involvement. The concept of option demand is new to me and I did not fully understand, but would like to talk more about. I think it is appropriate to differentiate the demand for natural resources and environments



KT Hensler

I found that Krutilla is very optimistic in regard to the “learning-by-doing” concept and that technological progress can compensate for depleting natural resources. While I appreciate his discussion about preserving natural spaces and species for future research opportunities, I find it hard to believe that there are policy makers in this day and age, especially in the United States, who will think this far into the future. He used a quote from Davidson, Adams, and Seneca to explain the “learning-by-doing” concept, but from what I read, it seems as if this example was only supportive of recreational water activities. To extrapolate that and use it to support his comments about “grand scenic wonders” seems slightly forced in my opinion. I did find the fact that the subscribers to World Wildlife Fund are not expected to visit the wonders and species in which they are supporting. I believe the option value to be true to a certain extent. Monetizing the value of having an option to visit a scenic wonder is so difficult. This, on top of all the natural environmental research he claims is necessary for a policy decision seems to be very time consuming.

On another note, I am very interested in seeing models of the functions Krutilla discussed throughout the journal article. He mentioned transformation functions, present and future demand of natural resource functions, and others.


John Krutilla possibly opened up the avenue of economic valuation of ecological services with Conservation Reconsidered.

He first establishes the framework of conservation’s motivation: longevity. In fact this is the main motivation of most sustainability initiatives in the present day. Today, sustainability refers to the ability to provide for the current and existing populations without infringing upon such availabilities for future generations. This seamlessly relates with the motivations of conservation economics which emphasizes optimal intertemporal utilization of fixed natural resource stocks. Krutilla suggests on way to develop long term worth of a natural resource is to open options of recreation. He specifically mentions, “Enjoyment of water recreational activities by the present will stimulate future demand…” (782). This statement highlights the pivotal influence of ecological education. Interacting with the land attaches it to a sentimental value that ultimately beyond any dollar value. Krutilia’s strategy relies on minimal yet proactive initiatives now for effective future policy. However, since its publication, there has, in my opinion, been minimal movement compared to the progress that needs to be done. Urgency and immediacy on conservation efforts must be conjured as the natural world is inelastic cannot be replicated, its irreplaceability necessitates protective policies so that we avoid reaching a point of no return. Quantitative significance of ecological services at the time of publication was unknown. Since the 1967, entire departments of natural resources have committed to the Identifying ecological services and economically evaluating nature’s potential.

Jack Citrin

The conservation reconsidered realizes the problem with scarce natural resources and achieving the optimal utilization of these resources. In order to conserve natural resources sets of land are set aside for future use. National Parks aid in providing extensive recreational use with fixed resources. However, the future ways the costs and benefits of this set of land. Should it be used for the actual natural resources on the land or for sight-seeing? The paper points out that the more scarce a resource becomes the higher the price will be for that resource. Innovation and technology are encouraged during times of high price. Furthermore, the paper also points out the divergence between social costs and private costs. In the face of the common good, people often neglect their individual costs as they relate to the whole.

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