Monday, July 15, 2024
Environmental Management

Resource Conservation and Management

The consideration of the economic, cultural, political, and social aspect in resources conservation and management will be discussed in this article.

Resource Conservation and Management

Natural resource conservation and management signifies the control of environmental and socioeconomic factors.

This will bring about an efficient use of raw materials, recycle materials and energy that are vital to human survival, restore derelict land and maintain the capacity of ecosystems, which are the basis of all economies.

Over the years, particularly at a governmental level, resources conservation and management has come to focus on biological resources such as:

Agriculture and pastoralism;




Tourism and recreation;


Genetic resources.

From this perspective, the aim of resource conservation is to foster attitudes in community and industry to the use of biological resources, changing from the maximum yield approach to one of ecologically sustainable yield.

This new attitude recognizes the need for conservation of natural resources, biodiversity and maintenance of ecological integrity.

Economic, cultural, political and social considerations in resource conservation and management.

The Conservation and management of natural resources are social processes since they rely on people’s behaviour, values and decisions.

Human individuals relate to nature through social relations established with others, which in turn shapes their perceptions, values, knowledge, power, opportunities and decisions.

The success of resource conservation and management depends on people’s behaviour and decisions, and it can be judged by the degree to which it contributes to the well-being of people and their environment.

It is then essential to consider social, cultural, economic, and political factors in natural resources conservation and management of conserved area.

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These factors include peoples’ values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, both individually and collectively, the ways they value and use natural resources and the social, economic, and political organization of resource use.

Therefore, it is especially important to consider the social and economic impacts and people’s perceptions, attitudes, expectations, and behavior regarding, resources conservation and management. The relevant questions to be asked in considering these factors include;

What is the nature and extent of the activity in and near the conserved area?

Do the local people or indigenes support or oppose the conserved area? Why or why not?

Resource Conservation and Management

What social and economic effects might be expected from establishing protected or conserved area? How are these effects distributed? Are there alternative sites or designs that might lessen the negative effects or increase the positive effects on resource users?

How might the nature and extent of activity change with the conservation goal? Is there a concentration of much activity at the area reserved?

How would these changes affect resource conditions and outcomes in ecological, social, and economic terms within and outside the conserved area?

The provision of information and understanding of these aspects of conservation scheme can be used to minimize their negative effects and maximize their positive effects on resources conservation.

Failure to consider them can lead to the failure of resources conservation to achieve their ecological, social, and economic goals.

There is a need to open dialogue and negotiation among different stakeholders within global, regional, national and local contexts, in order to achieve more equitable sharing of the costs and benefits in considering conservation.

Policy issues at the national and global level, such as international trade agreements, global conventions and treaties, shape decisions affecting the use of natural resources and ecosystems, and therefore affect social stability and human security.

There is a need for environmental laws, regulations, policies and practices that contribute to more equitable sharing of the cost and benefits of conservation, and more even distribution of entitlements of natural resources.

There is a need to build capacity at the local and national level to support democratic participation of local people within policy development, in order to reach more equitable power sharing between poor and rich countries.

The concept of social equity in conservation refers to the need for fair distribution of the benefits and costs of conservation among different social groups and individuals.

It recognizes that social groups and individuals have differential needs, interests, rights to and responsibilities over resources, and that they experience different impacts of conservation.

Unless special provisions are made to balance differences in tenure, power, knowledge and decisions, conservation and sustainable use initiatives are going to perpetuate and sharpen social and economic differentiation.

By doing so, they would fail to build a solid social base for sustainability and socio-environmental security. Broad participation of stakeholders without gender, class, age, ethnicity, religion, culture or racial discrimination is required within natural resources management, in order to ensure their integrity and human development.

Social equity is not only the keystone of long- term social stability and security, which are essential aspects of human welfare and sustainable development, but it is also a fundamental condition for sustainable use of natural resources.

The International Union of Conservation of nature (IUCN) understands that to be able to design effective programs that promote sustainable and equitable conservation and natural resources management, it has to fully embrace socio-economic and cultural equity concerns in its policies, programs and projects at the local, national, regional and global level.

Within IUCN’s mission six major areas have been identified, in which issues of social equity in resources conservation need to be explicitly addressed, these are:

Social Diversity and Equity;

Gender and Equity;

Tenure and Participatory Management;

Indigenous and Traditional Peoples;

Security and Equity;


Conservation of natural resources cannot be achieved unless fair access and control to natural resources are available to local people, without discrimination based on gender, class, ethnicity, age or other social variables.

There is a need to empower communities and local users, recognizing their rights and responsibilities, ensuring their means to sustainable livelihoods and human development.

Fair and safe tenure systems for land and natural resources increases social stability and local resources users’ incentives and abilities to participate in resource management decisions in effective ways.

Indigenous and traditional peoples have often been unfairly affected by conservation policies and practices, which have failed to fully understand the rights and roles of indigenous peoples in the management, use and conservation of biodiversity.

In line with numerous international agreements (e.g., Agenda 21; ILO convention no. 169; Article 8(j) of the CBD; and the draft UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) several IUCN WCC resolutions emphasize indigenous people’s rights to lands and territories, and natural resources on which they have traditionally subsisted.

These resolutions stress the need to enhance participation of indigenous peoples in all conservation initiatives and policy developments that affect them.

Furthermore, they recognize that indigenous peoples possess a unique body of knowledge related to the conservation and use of natural resources. These include;

Respect indigenous people’s knowledge and innovations, and their social, cultural, religious and spiritual values and practices.

Recognize the social, economic and cultural rights of indigenous peoples such as their right to lands and territories and natural resources, respecting their social and cultural identity, their customs, traditions and institutions.

Ensure full and just participation of indigenous peoples in all conservation activities supported and implemented by IUCN.

Support indigenous peoples’ right to make their own decisions affecting their lands, territories and resources, by assuring their rights to manage natural resources, such as wildlife, on which their livelihoods and ways of life depend, provided they make sustainable use of natural resources.

Strengthen the rights and full and equal participation of traditional institutions and to strengthen the capacity of indigenous people to ensure that they benefit from any utilization of their knowledge.

Social equity is the cornerstone of long-term environmental and human security, and a prerequisite of sustainable conservation of nature and management of natural resources.

The main driver of unsustainable environmental practices is the demand for natural resources generated by inequitable consumption, distribution and global economic development patterns.

These global mechanisms exacerbate the demographic pressure on natural resources exerted by communities and individuals whose livelihoods rely more directly on natural resources.

The same patterns that increase high standards of wasteful consumption in the developed countries increase resource scarcity, conflicts and poverty in developing countries.

It is often the poorest people and communities who are affected by this disproportionate appropriation and consumption, and by environmental degradation.

Globalization has many different impacts on local and national economies and societies, affecting people’s lives and the use of natural resources.

Expansion of markets, communication, Western consumption patterns, homogenization and modernization of culture and lifestyles, increasing pressure on natural resources, and sharpened differences between rich and poor, are some trends affecting the long-term security of the human race on global scale and directly on natural resources.

Increasing interdependencies leave no conserved place on earth, making environmental and social issues a common urgent agenda for all people around the world.

There is a need to raise awareness, increase networking and to build institutional capacity to speed and spread this process to ensure resources conservation.

The aim is to secure healthy ecosystems in term of natural resources conservation and to build strong democratic and fair civil society throughout the world.

In cultural ways, it is seen that the differing cultural value systems between conserved area and their support communities have frequently resulted in incidences of conflicts particularly as many of the native societies within protected or conserved areas believe that the natural environments within these areas are sacred habitats which connect them to their religious inclinations.

Hence, such areas are consciously protected from any form of intrusion. For example, farmers of the south East Asian region traditionally honour sacred groves- patches of wilderness amidst agricultural fields and rural landscapes as abodes of their powerful deities.

For the indigenous Indians of Panama, patches of forests are regarded as super natural parks for the refuse of wild-life and spirits, while the Tukano Indians of Brazil guard forests and waterways for spiritual recourse.

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The indirect effect of this is the protection of over 60% of the streams within the locality as sanctuaries for fishes and other aquatic life.

Similarly the taboo and religious traditional value placed on orange-utang population in the upper reaches of Butang-Ai river in southern Sarawak has resulted in the preservation of the animal population.

For African conservation schemes to be laudable it is vital that such schemes take into consideration the peculiar cultural traits of the region in which they are established. This would include conservation education, infrastructure, funding and man-power availability.

The United Nations has recognised the central role of culture and education, and have declared a decade of education for sustainable resources conservation and management, 2005–2014, which aims to “challenge us all to adopt new behaviours and practices to secure our natural resources”.

The Worldwide Fund (WWF) for Nature proposes a strategy for sustainability that goes beyond education to tackle underlying individualistic and materialistic societal values head-on and strengthen people’s connections with the natural world.

Political and social disruptions like war, crime and corruption divert resources from areas of greatest human need, damage the capacity of societies to plan for resources conservation and management, and generally threaten human well-being and the environment.

Depletion of natural resources including fresh water increases the likelihood of “resource wars”.

This aspect of resources conservation has been referred to as environmental security and creates a clear need for global environmental agreements to manage resources such as aquifers and rivers which span political boundaries, and to protect global systems including oceans and the atmosphere.

Resource conservation issues to considering the economic, cultural, political and social considerations are generally expressed in scientific and environmental terms, but implementing change is a social challenge that entails, among other things, international and national law, urban planning and transport, local and individual lifestyles and ethical consumerism.

The success of resource conservation and management depends on people’s behaviour and decisions, it is then essential to consider social, cultural, economic, and political factors in natural resources conservation and management of conserved area.

These factors include peoples’ values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, both individually and collectively, the ways they value and use natural resources and the social, economic, and political organization of resource use.


Benadine Nonye is an agricultural consultant and a writer with several years of professional experience in the agriculture industry. - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education - PhD Student in Agricultural Economics and Environmental Policy... Visit My Websites On: 1. - Your Comprehensive Practical Agricultural Knowledge and Farmer’s Guide Website! 2. - For Effective Environmental Management through Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices! Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4Profits TV and WealthInWastes TV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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