Robert Costanza

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Robert Costanza
Robert Costanza 2016.jpg
Born September 14, 1950
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Nationality  United States
Fields Ecological Economics
Systems Ecology
Institutions The Australian National University
Portland State University
University of Vermont
University of Maryland
Louisiana State University
Alma mater University of Florida
Doctoral advisor H.T. Odum
Known for Founder of International Society for Ecological Economics & Ecological Economics journal, Founding Editor-in-Chief of Solutions Journal
Notable awards Kellogg National Fellow
Pew Scholar

Robert Costanza (born September 14, 1950) is a leading ecological economist and Professor of Public Policy at the Crawford School of Public Policy at The Australian National University.


Before joining the Crawford School of Public Policy at The Australian National University in 2013 he was a professor at Portland State University in Oregon from 2010 to 2012. Costanza was the Gund Professor of Ecological Economics and director of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont. Prior to moving to Vermont in August 2002, Costanza was director of the University of Maryland Institute for Ecological Economics, and a professor at University of Maryland's Center for Estuarine and Environmental Science, at Chesapeake Biological Lab on Solomons Island MD. Costanza received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1979 in systems ecology, with a minor in economics. He also has a master's degree in Architecture and Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Florida. Robert Costanza was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

He is co-founder and past-president of the International Society for Ecological Economics and he was chief editor of the society's journal, Ecological Economics from its inception in 1989 until 2002. Costanza is the founding editor-in-chief of Solutions a new hybrid popular/academic journal/magazine. He is also the co-editor-in-chief (with Karin Limburg and Ida Kubiszewski) of Ecological Economics Reviews. He currently serves on the editorial board of eight other international academic journals and is past president of the International Society for Ecosystem Health. He is a senior fellow of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm, Sweden; a senior fellow of the National Council for Science and the Environment, Washington, D.C.; a distinguished visiting professor at Lincoln University in Canterbury, New Zealand; Affiliate Fellow at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont; and a co-chair of the Ecosystem Services Partnership.

In 1982 he was selected as a Kellogg National Fellow, in 1992 he was awarded the Society for Conservation Biology Distinguished Achievement Award and in 1993 he was selected as a Pew Scholar in Conservation and the Environment. In 1998 he was awarded the Kenneth Boulding Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions in Ecological Economics and received an honorary doctorate in natural sciences from Stockholm University in 2000.

Costanza has served on the scientific steering committee for the “Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone” and “Analysis, Integration and Modeling of the Earth System” core projects of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme; the U.S. EPA National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology; the National Research Council Board on Sustainable Development, Committee on Global Change Research; the National Research Council Board on Global Change; the U.S. National Committee for Man and Superman; the Biosphere Program; and, the National Marine Fisheries Service Committee on Ecosystem Principles.


Costanza's transdisciplinary research integrates the study of humans and nature to address research, policy, and management issues. His work has focused on the interface between ecological and economic systems, particularly at larger temporal and spatial scales, from small watersheds to the global system. This includes landscape-level spatial simulation modeling; analysis of energy and material flows through economic and ecological systems; valuation of ecosystem services, biodiversity, carrying capacity, and natural capital; and analysis and correction of dysfunctional incentive systems.


Costanza is the author or co-author of 22 books. and over 400 scientific papers.[1] Books, a selection:

  • 1991, Ecological economics: The science and management of sustainability.
  • 1992, with Bryan Norton and Ben Haskell,Ecosystem health: new goals for environmental management.
  • 1996, with Olman Segura and Juan Martinez-Alier, Getting down to earth: practical applications of ecological economics
  • 1997, with John Cumberland, Herman Daly, Robert Goodland and Richard Norgaard, An Introduction to Ecological Economics
  • 2000, with Tom Prugh and Herman Daly, The local politics of global sustainability.
  • 2007, with Lisa Graumlich and Will Steffen, Sustainability or Collapse? An Integrated History and Future of People on Earth.
Articles, a selection
  • 1996, Costanza, R. Ecological economics: reintegrating the study of humans and nature. Ecological Applications 6:978-990 (1996)
  • 1997, Costanza et al. The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature 387:253-260 (1997)
  • 1998, Costanza et al. Principles for sustainable governance of the oceans. Science 281:198-199 (1998)
  • 2008, Costanza, R. Stewardship for a “Full” World. Current History (January 2008) An excellent six-page (including a concise chart) exposition of ecological economics.
  • 2010, Costanza et al. The perfect spill: solutions for averting the next Deepwater Horizon, The Solutions Journal
About Robert Costanza

Costanza is the author or co-author of over 400 scientific papers and 22 books. His work has been cited in more than 7,000 scientific articles and he has been named as one of the ISI's Highly Cited Researchers since 2004. More than 200 interviews and reports on his work have appeared in various popular media, including Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, the Economist, the New York Times, Science, Nature, National Geographic, and National Public Radio.


  1. ^ A complete list of his articles can be found in his Curriculum vitae, May 2008.

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