Natural Resource Management: The Human Dimension

Natural Resource Management: The Human Dimension

Natural Resource Management: The Human Dimension

Natural Resource Management: The Human Dimension


"One of the greatest needs in natural resource management is for a deeper understanding of the intricate relationship between humans and the natural environment. Human Dimensions Research, an interdisciplinary field involving a broad variety of social science approaches, seeks to fill this need by providing multidimensional assessments of people's behavior, attitudes, and expectations toward natural resources and their uses. Written by and for scholars, planners, and policymakers, Natural Resource Management: The Human Dimension focuses on issues such as the public's role in the decisionmaking processes of ecosystem management that affect how we use (or abuse) natural resources. It exposes the reader to a wide variety of applications of Human Dimensions Research as well as the significant issues involved. At a time when we are either loving our forests and parks to death or paving them over, a better understanding of the problems is critical if we are to create workable policies that will preserve and protect our natural resources." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


The linkages between human dimensions such as public perceptions, individual behaviors, sociological forces and the management of natural resources, has always been a tenuous one, at best. Often relegated to the realm of "commonsense," too inexact to be included in scientific management or not important enough to be part of the management and planning equation, human dimensions have now assumed levels of importance far exceeding those of the recent past.

Why this trend toward greater importance exists remains a complex and only partially answered question. Three sociological-based phenomena, however, may serve to provide some rationale for the dramatic increase in attention now being shown to the concept of human dimensions. First, there is an increase in the level of awareness of natural resource issues held by the public. Corresponding with this heightened awareness is a concomitant decrease in the public's level of understanding of naturally-occurring ecosystems and other natural resources.

Second, there is an increase in the value placed on non-commodity outputs and products of natural environments. That is, opportunities for enjoying the many forms of recreation, aesthetic appreciation and catharsis from the urbanized setting are viewed by an increasing number of citizens as important attributes of the natural environment, often on par with the extraction of various commodities.

Third, there is a growing reluctance on the part of the public to automatically accept professional authority. Both in the United States and Canada, as well as on other parts of the globe, being a member of a natural resource agency no longer entitles one to have carte blanche in determining how natural resources are utilized and managed.

What these three sociological trends verify is a recognition that future management of our natural resources will involve a balance between the various scientific disciplines (biological, physical and social) in addition to the. consideration of public involvement in the decision-making process and a better understanding of the relationship between natural resource management and the values the public (i.e., the stakeholders) place on these resources.

Although no one book can fully capture the breadth and complexity of the human dimensions in natural resource management, this work attempts to expose the reader to a number of significant issues and applications of human dimetisions research. Any success in this endeavor is due to the wide-ranging expertise of the authors and their contributed chapters. in turn, these chapters are divided into four parts.

Part One provides an overview and introduction to the concept of human dimensions research and its relationship to natural resource management. Part Two provides some specific examples of human dimensions research in various natural . . .

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