Crumb Trail
     an impermanent travelogue
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Monday, September 08, 2003

This paper is part of an issue of Conservation Ecology focusing on Human Ecosystems: Toward the Integration of Anthropology and Ecosystem Sciences.


The quest for an appropriate system of management for tropical ecosystems necessitates that ecologists consider the accumulated experiences of indigenous peoples in their long-term management of local resources, a subject of current ethnoecology. This paper provides data and empirical evidence of an indigenous multiple-use strategy (MUS) of tropical forest management existing in Mexico, that can be considered a case of adaptive management. This conclusion is based on the observation that some indigenous communities avoid common modernization routes toward specialized, unsustainable, and ecologically disruptive systems of production, and yet probably achieve the most successful tropical forest utilization design, in terms of biodiversity conservation, resilience, and sustainability. This analysis relies on an exhaustive review of the literature and the authors' field research. Apparently, this MUS represents an endogenous reaction of indigenous communities to the intensification of natural resource use, responding to technological, demographic, cultural, and economic changes in the contemporary world. This transforms traditional shifting cultivators into multiple-use strategists. Based on a case study, three main features (biodiversity, resilience, and permanence) considered relevant to achieving adaptive and sustainable management of tropical ecosystems are discussed.

I suspect that this sort of system will prove to be even better than the parks approach mentioned in the previous post over the long term. Indigenous communities can't resist encroachment by themselves and need state protection, but they may be more invested in long term preservation and alert to threats.

posted by back40 | 9/08/2003 09:04:00 PM


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