Global warming is an increasing problem, tropical forests are being wiped out and major upper watersheds are being degraded. Using insights provided by environmentalism, ecology and thermo-dynamics, this book - first published in 1989 - outlines an economic approach to the use of natural resources and particularly to the problem of environmental degradation. Edward Barbier reviews and critiques the long past of environmental and resource economics and then goes on to elaborate an economics which allows us to develop alternative strategies for dealing with the problems faced. With examples drawn from Latin America and Indonesia, he not only develops a major theoretical advance but shows how it can be applied. Barbier's work is an important and relevant contribution to the discussion surrounding the economics of environmental sustainability.