This definition of Ecological Economics is based on the paper by Joan Martinez Alier published in the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioural Sciences.
Working paper, UHE/UAB, 16/05/2001 (available for download here)
Ecological economics is a recently developed field, which sees the economy as a subsystem of a larger finite global ecosystem. Ecological economists question the sustainability of the economy because of its environmental impact and its material and energy requirements, and also because of population growth. Attempts at assigning money values to environmental services and losses, and at correcting macroeconomic accounting are part of ecological economics, but its main thrust is in developing physical indicators and indexes of sustainability. Ecological economists also work on relations between property rights and resource management, model interactions between economy and environment, study ecological distribution conflicts, use management tools such as integrated environmental assessment and multi-criteria decision aids, and propose new instruments of environmental policy.