Review: The Politics of Ecosystem Management

By Maret, Susan | Electronic Green Journal, January 1, 2000 | Go to article overview

Review: The Politics of Ecosystem Management


Maret, Susan, Electronic Green Journal


Review: The Politics of Ecosystem Management By Hanna J. Cortner and Margaret A. Moote Cortner, Hanna J., and Margaret A. Moote. The Politics of Ecosystem Management. Washington, DC: Island Press, 1998. 224 pp. US $25.00 paper ISBN 1559636726. Recycled, acid-free paper.

Ecosystem management is not exclusively concerned with scientific judgments; the social and political also influence the ways in which ecosystems are "managed" (xi). This is the foundation of The Politics of Ecosystem Management, written by Hanna J. Cortner and Margaret A. Moote.

Cortner, a professor at the School of Renewable Natural Resources, University of Arizona, Tucson, and Moote, a senior research specialist at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona, describe themselves as advocates for "more ecological approaches to resources management, for policy changes that foster more open and collaborative decision-making processes, and for innovative ways to manage resources across mixed ownerships." It is the author's philosophy that it is not only the duty of public policy scholars to describe and empirically explain relationships regarding the natural world; scholars must also promote the ideals of democracy and citizenship (x) . Cortner and Moote take these ideas to heart, weaving a philosophical discussion of ecosystems and the role of science within a political context.

In their work, Cortner and Moote also examine the history and policy of natural resource management in the United States, and how this approach differs from ecosystem management. Traditionally, natural resource management has focused on the sustained yield ("outputs") approach, which evolved out of Progressive Era utilitarian thinking about ways to control and use natural resources. The authors argue that as applied, the principle of sustained yield meant an emphasis on maximum production, and "a continuous supply of market-oriented goods: in forest management the timber cut; in range management the stocking rate; in water management the acre-foot" (17). …

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