Chapter 1: Taking stock: the keystones of ecological economics
After some decades of existence, ecological economics is a thriving field of knowledge. Our purpose here is not to engage in the normative debate about what it should be, but rather to introduce the Handbook we have edited, while also trying to provide some insight into what constitutes the ontological foundations of ecological economics. In the concluding chapter we shall elaborate on the most salient current concerns of the field, as well as on its future. This compilation of chapters aims, on the one hand, to present and stimulate the debate on the scope and methods of the multifaceted transdisciplinary field that was baptized as ecological economics in the late 1980s and, on the other, to comprehensively review the ‘state of the art’ in several exciting, relevant and rather new subjects dealing with the fluid interface between economic and ecological systems. The Handbook covers a wide range of appealing topics but it would be too ambitious to attempt to review the vast history and current production of ecological economics in a single volume. Moreover, this compendium is the result of combining the tastes of the editors with the generous availability of the invited authors.