I’ve decided to turn this blog into a weekly newsletter, to be published on Fridays.
This newsletter on the human dimensions of natural resource management begins with an explanation of the term “Human Dimensions”.
Human dimensions work includes:
- interdisciplinary research into human behaviours in natural environments involving researchers from both the social sciences and the humanities;
- foci on the human dimensions of wildlife, fisheries, coasts, oceans, protected areas and climate change;
- building understandings of people’s behaviours in relation to environmental management and providing knowledge for environmental managers and policy makers;
- connections to universal concepts such as fairness, justice, risk, and sustainability; and,
- both quantitative and qualitative research methods.
Consequently, human dimensions work typically contains three aspects:
- a focus on people’s engagements with elements of natural environments, from a psychological and/or cultural point of view;
- a focus on the management interventions that mediate those engagements, including governance, legislation, policy and planning; and,
- a focus on the response of natural environments to people’s engagements.
In the photo above, we see tourists landing on Chachauate, one of the cays in the Cayos Cochinos Marine Protected Area off the Honduras coast. Their hosts, Garifuna people, from the Honduran coastal areas, fished these waters before the advent of the MPA. Here, a change in management regime affects people and their livelihood and, perhaps, the fishery.
Human dimensions in natural resource management as a field of research and practice is large in its scope. In these pages, I’ll try to offer something about the three focal areas across the range of areas of application such as wildlife, protected areas and so on.
Bob Payne is a human dimensions specialist and professor at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. He can be contacted through LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/rjpayne.