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The Environment and Emerging Development Issues: Volume 1$
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Partha Dasgupta and Karl-Göran Mäler

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780199240692

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199240692.001.0001

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Common-Property Resource-Management in Traditional Societies

Common-Property Resource-Management in Traditional Societies

(p.48) 3 Common-Property Resource-Management in Traditional Societies
The Environment and Emerging Development Issues: Volume 1

Raymond Noronha

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers four examples of ‘common property resources’: Kerala in southern India, the Sudan, southern Bahia in Brazil, and forest dwellers. ‘Traditional’ systems of management appear to be confined only to economically marginal segments of national populations. In all cases, the groups are relatively small. Within the groups, there was comparative homogeneity and relative equality of economic activity. With the exception of the Kerala case, the ‘management’ systems were outside the formal legal framework of society. Are traditional societies exemplars par excellence of conservation? Romanticism can lead to a ‘museum pieces’ approach with four elements (or assumptions): that people in such societies have knowledge of their physical environments and resources; the life of these societies is ‘adapted’ to their respective environments; there is ‘care’ of natural resources; and this care results in economic systems that are ‘sustainable’. These are examined with reference to the four cases, and some inferences are drawn.

Keywords:   forest-dwellers, Kerala, Sudan, southern Bahia

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