Linking social and ecological systems: management practices and social mechanisms for building resilience

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Author: PAUL SILLITOE
Date: June 2001
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Document Type: Book review
Length: 1,067 words

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BERKES, FIKRET & CARL FOLKE (eds). Linking social and ecological systems: management practices and social mechanisms for building resilience. xvi, 459 pp., maps, diagrs., illus., bibliogr. Cambridge: Univ. Press, 2000. [pound]50.00 (cloth), [pound]19.95 (paper)

A welcome contribution to the debate on the sustainable use of natural resources, arguing for the consideration of local knowledge and practices, widely sidelined until recently by capitalist economics and international science as inefficient, even destructive. According to the editors, the principal aim of the volume is to argue for a 'fundamentally different approach' to resources management, one that takes a systems-feedback perspective and integrates both social science and ecology. It seeks linkages between these, as intimated in the tide. While there will be nothing new to readers of this journal in esteeming local cultural arrangements and arguing for a holistic approach that sets these in environmental and social context, it is encouraging to see others subscribing to these fundamental anthropological tenets (contributors include ecologists, economists, environmental scientists, and oceanographers, in addition to some anthropologists).

The book comprises sixteen interesting chapters, including an introduction by the editors on linking social and ecological systems and a conclusion on the lessons learned regarding the resilience and sustainability of different resource strategies. While each chapter takes its own line in addressing issues pertinent to cultural and environmental circumstances central to the volume -- be they Atlantic fisheries or tropical forest swiddens -- the contributors have agreed a framework (during a series of workshops at the Beiher Institute, Sweden) which informs all their pieces. This analytical framework comprises four components: the ecosystem, the social system and...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A76665802