Defining Natural Resource Use and Nonuse

Jan G. Laitos

in The Right of Nonuse

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195386066
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949656 | DOI:
Defining Natural Resource Use and Nonuse

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This chapter begins with a description of natural resource use and nonuse values. All natural resources consist of both a use and nonuse component. The use dimension in turn is divided into two classes: direct use and indirect use. The discussion then turns to the four distinct “eras” of resource use and nonuse. The first of these eras, the Age of Human Survival, occurred during the Pleistocene Epoch. The second era ran from the time human populations organized themselves into complex societies until the eighteenth century’s decentralized free market emerged as the chief resource-production-allocating mechanism. In Era III, from the eighteenth century until the mid-twentieth century, the concept of a property right in a resource allowed owners to control fully and exploit the use component of their resources. In Era IV, from the 1950s until the present, human anthropogenic decisions and activities resulted in dramatic reductions in the natural resource base, as well as increasing rates of pollution.

Keywords: natural resource; direct use; indirect use; nonuse; human survival; property right; pollution

Chapter.  4192 words. 

Subjects: Environment and Energy Law

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