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Common Property Resources and the Cultural Keystone Concept: A Conceptual Contribution Toward Adaptive Resource Management

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Chandi, Manish; Arthur, Rohan
Conference: Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Our Future, the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Hyderabad, India
Conf. Date: January 10-14
Date: 2011
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7296
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Subject(s): social-ecological systems
traditional institutions
resource management
natural disasters
Abstract: "There is growing global concern to influence, encourage and assist societies to conserve the integrity of natural ecosystems, and to ensure that their use is equitable and ecologically sustainable. This concern has stemmed from the realization of increasing scarcity of natural resources as well as our propensity to maximize short-term individual gain over long-term benefit to society at large. Over the past few decades sociological and conservation research has probed resource utilization methods and contexts to understand our propensity to consume. The interdisciplinary nature of such research has provided greater understanding on evolutionary facets of human cooperation and conflict, the success and failures of different conservation strategies as well as the dynamics of common property systems. In this paper I approach common property natural resource systems that are subject to social, economic and ecological change to understand how management strategies are affected. I briefly explore facets of resilience that a society may use to tide over such change. Natural as well as technological hazards pock mark the planet’s surface increasingly, impacting the natural world as well as handicapping societies dependent on them. I attempt to elucidate a mechanism of understanding socio-ecological change that such perturbations bring about on the human-ecosystem relationships. The Nicobar Islands form the focus of my study where I compare the structure of common property resource systems based on social organization and resource availability. Being one of the most severely affected regions by the tsunami of 2004, there have been dramatic shifts in natural resource availability; rehabilitation measures and attitudinal shifts have also contributed to changes in subjective values attributed to resources that contribute to the local economy and ethnic identity. I use the changes in resource availability, and a gamut of values attributed to resources to understand adaptations within common property resource management systems."

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