Ecological studies and political decisions
Resource management is a process of striking a balance between improving the well-being of people and causing undesirable environmental change. Politicians are responsible for making the appropriate decisions, but they are increasingly influenced by the advice of professionals, especially planners, ecologists, and administrators (budgeting officials, legal experts, personnel managers). This paper looks at the resource-management process as it operates in the Norfolk Broads region of England. It illustrates how different parties involved in using and managing the area disagree about what precisely are the causes of environmental deterioration and thus about suitable courses of action. Within this context the trained ecologist may find it difficult to maintain a stance of detached objectivity. The author recommends that ecologists become more familiar with the wider social and institutional aspects of resource management and that they play a more active role in informing people of the consequences of various courses of action.
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