Our Natural Capital
The health and well being of citizens in the Gulf of Mexico region is
intimately linked to the use of natural resources. Energy,
wetlands, fisheries, wildlife, forests, land, and water – our natural
capital assets – must be efficiently managed for both current and
Efficient management, however, implies more than just a focus on
extraction and utilization, jobs and income. Efficient management
also calls for a careful analysis of the intergenerational effects of
resource investment decisions and the institutions that manage the
allocation of the resources. This kind of multifaceted analysis
is the focus of natural resource and environmental economics.
Together with biophysical scientists, resource and environmental
economists can help improve the long-term management of these
Coordinating Economic Research and Extension
The Gulf region has seen a steady expansion in public funding for
natural resource management, especially in the areas of coastal
restoration and farm-based conservation. The wise use of this
funding requires a coordinated resource economics program that
contributes to the policy making process. As more ambitious plans
for conservation and restoration unfold, economists will increasingly
be called on for their expertise in non-market valuation, property
rights and public goods, resource allocation, and compensation
analysis. While some of this research has occurred in the past,
efforts have been fragmented and widely dispersed across different
The Center for Natural Resource Economics and Policy (CNREP) was
established in to coordinate the activities of resource economists and
policy professionals and to provide a focal point for organizing and
marketing their efforts to resource managers and other constituents.
A Natural Resource for Decision-Makers
The development of sound resource management plans will always involve
complex economic and environmental tradeoffs. As new
technological approaches emerge to address resource problems, policy
makers will inevitably seek estimates of the costs and benefits
associated with pursuing different courses of action. CNREP provides a
resource for those agencies seeking the socioeconomic information
required to fully evaluate new environmental programs and projects.
The ultimate challenge of resource management involves reconciling the
duel needs for economic viability and environmental integrity.
CNREP will help meet this challenge by improving the management and
allocation of our natural resources.