Charles Perrings was appointed Professor of Environmental Economics at Arizona State University in August 2005. Previous appointments include Professor of Environmental Economics and Environmental Management at the University of York; Professor of Economics at the University of California, Riverside; and Director of the Biodiversity Program of the Beijer Institute, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, where he is a Fellow.
Between 1995 and 2005 he was editor of the Cambridge University Press journal, Environment and Development Economics, and he remains on the editorial board of this and several other journals in environmental, resource and ecological economics, and in conservation ecology. He is Past President of the International Society for Ecological Economics, a society formed to bring together the insights of the ecological and economic sciences to aid understanding and management of environmental problems. He has advised various governmental, intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations as well as research funding agencies. In Britain he served on, inter alia, the Royal Society’s Environment Committee, the WHAT Commission on Crop Genetic Diversity in Agriculture and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (Natural Environment Research Council Research Institutes) Program Review Board. In the US he was a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Working Group on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
At ASU he directs (with Ann Kinzig) the ecoSERVICES Group within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The Group studies the causes and consequences of change in ecosystem services – the benefits that people derive from the biophysical environment. It analyses biodiversity change in terms of its impacts on the things that people care about. Following the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) these are characterized as provisioning services (foods, fuels, fibers, genetic materials, chemical compounds and the like), cultural services (aesthetic, spiritual, moral, recreational, educational, scientific uses) and regulating services (the role of ecosystems in regulating flows of provisioning and cultural services including, for example, water quality regulation, soil erosion reduction, storm damage protection and so on). The Group contributes to a number of international research projects on issues relating to biodiversity change, conservation and development, and supports training in biodiversity and ecosystem services both within ASU and internationally.
Major current research activities include two multi-year projects (for which Perrings is PI) on the relationship between economic activity and the spread of human, animal and plant disease. The first, funded by the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of General Medical Sciences), focuses on the role of economic decisions in the transmission of infectious disease. This is a collaboration between researchers at Arizona State University, the University of California Santa Cruz, the University of California Davis, The Ecohealth Alliance, Michigan State University, Brown University, Princeton University, The University of Wyoming, and Yale University. The second project focuses on the human, animal and plant disease risks of trade. It is jointly funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. It is a collaboration between the Arizona State University, the University of California Davis, The Ecohealth Alliance, Michigan State University, The University of Wyoming, Yale University, and the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in the United States, plus the University of Sterling, the University of York and the Food and Environment Research Agency in the United Kingdom.