chapter  6
74 Pages

Search for Sustainability

Th e terms ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable development’ are oft en interchangeably used in the literature (Kane 1999); both are used to imply improvement in a

dynamic process without exhausting the resource base. However, there is a broad diff erence between interpretations of the terms by economists and natural scientists – a diff erence that contributes to the controversy over connotations of development and has enriched the sustainability discourse. Th e diff erent interpretations of the sustainability concept have their roots in the fundamental principle of managing natural resources: to manage the resources in such a manner that they remain viable (sustainable) over an indefi nitely long period of time. Of direct consequence is the realization that sustained availability of natural resources would ensure sustainability of the economics based on them. It has been common knowledge in resource management practices that unless the rate of extraction of a natural resource is less than the rate of its natural renewal, the resource will soon get exhausted. However, experiences of unexpected declines in renewable resources have taught economists the fundamental lesson that even renewable resources, conventionally assumed to be infi nitely renewable, are in reality fi nite, and must be tapped with ecological prudence.