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Halting Degradation of Natural Resources: Is There a Role for Rural Communities?

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Type: Book
Author: Baland, Jean-Marie; Platteau, Jean-Philippe
Publisher: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Location: Rome, Italy
Date: 1996
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/21
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Subject(s): rural development
collective action
Abstract: "The present work is concerned with the topical issue of natural resource management. It does not deal, however, with broad-spectrum environmental concerns such as protection of wilderness areas (for example, the south pole), air or water pollution, etc., but focuses on local ecosystems. What distinguishes local-level resources from larger ecosystems is that (1) they are susceptible of appropriation by relatively small units (including individuals) and (2) they can lead to rivalry in consumption in so far as yields of these resources are clearly perceived as subtractable. This book thus addresses the question as to how these local or village-level natural resources (as contrasted with global commons) can be most efficiently and equitably managed. In other words, can we find guidelines or sound theoretical principles for an optimal long-term exploitation of local resources (forests, irrigation water, pastures, lakes and rivers, sea areas, etc.)? Disturbing evidence highlighting rapid processes of resource depletion, particularly so in developing countries, has stimulated a lot of theoretical and empirical works during the last decades. Moreover, relevant theoretical tools (such as game theory) have been developed independently of environmental concerns which have potential applications to this field. The present attempt aims essentially at making a pause in order to take stock of the achievements attained so far. We believe this step is necessary in view not only of the considerable body of literature which has accumulated on the subject under concern, but also of the multidisciplinary nature of the works involved. Due to these two characteristics, there are many gaps to be bridged between various strands of thinking or contributions to the field."

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