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Article

Critical Natural Resources: Challenging the Current Discourse and Proposal for a Holistic Definition

1
Department of Physical Geography, Environment and Resource Dynamics Group, Stockholm University, 114 19 Stockholm, Sweden
2
Environment and Natural Resources Programme, Faculty of Engineering, University of Iceland, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland
3
Environment and Natural Resources Programme, Faculty of Political Science, University of Iceland, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Resources 2018, 7(4), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7040079
Received: 25 October 2018 / Revised: 22 November 2018 / Accepted: 28 November 2018 / Published: 1 December 2018
Studies on critical natural resources have grown in number over the last decade out of concern for resource availability and its potential impacts. Nonetheless, only a handful of studies explicitly define criticality for natural resources. Through a systematic literature review, we identified four main perspectives in the descriptions of critical natural resources: (1) economic importance is overemphasized at the expense of sociocultural and ecosystem support functions of natural resources; (2) a Western perspective dominates the research discourse; (3) apart from the field of economics, the debate lacks input from social sciences; and (4), non-renewable resources are overrepresented compared to renewables. Based on the current discourse and its apparent inclinations, we propose a new definition of criticality for natural resources aligned with risk theory. We argue for the need to balance out the perspectives described above to provide decision-makers with impartial information for the sustainable management of natural resources. View Full-Text
Keywords: critical; criticality; definition; natural capital; natural resources; raw materials; systematic mapping critical; criticality; definition; natural capital; natural resources; raw materials; systematic mapping
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MDPI and ACS Style

Schellens, M.K.; Gisladottir, J. Critical Natural Resources: Challenging the Current Discourse and Proposal for a Holistic Definition. Resources 2018, 7, 79. https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7040079

AMA Style

Schellens MK, Gisladottir J. Critical Natural Resources: Challenging the Current Discourse and Proposal for a Holistic Definition. Resources. 2018; 7(4):79. https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7040079

Chicago/Turabian Style

Schellens, Marie K., and Johanna Gisladottir. 2018. "Critical Natural Resources: Challenging the Current Discourse and Proposal for a Holistic Definition" Resources 7, no. 4: 79. https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7040079

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