Economic Growth and the Environment

The environment provides ecosystem services that support human wants. Economic growth is important for raising human living standards. It is unclear, however, whether economic growth benefits the environment. Research into the relationship between economic growth and the environment has focused on a U-shaped association known as the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC). As economies grow, environmental quality initially declines but ultimately recovers and improves. However, environmental quality has been narrowly defined in the research, largely neglecting the availability and range of ecosystem services. Because these services derive from biodiversity, we use avian biodiversity as a proxy for environmental quality. This work is in collaboration with Professor John Tschirhart (University of Wyoming) and associate professor David Finnoff (University of Wyoming).