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GELTS: Towards an Integrated Understanding of Natural Resource Use and Management

  • Jordan, Fiona M (Collaborator)
  • Gavin, Michael C (PI)
  • Carlos, Botero (CoI)
  • Low, Bobbi (CoI)
  • Bowern, Claire (CoI)
  • Kushnick, Geoff (CoI)
  • Kirby, Kathryn (Collaborator)
  • Gray, Russell D (Collaborator)
  • Kavanagh, Patrick (Researcher)
  • Haynie, Hannah (Researcher)
AcronymGELTS
StatusActive
Period1/09/151/09/19

Description

This interdisciplinary research project will examine variations in the ways that different human societies have managed natural resources. Scientists long have debated how environmental, demographic, institutional, social, and historical factors shape the natural resource management strategies used by different societies and why these strategies change over time. Diverse natural resource management approaches have allowed humans to inhabit every continent on earth, including such varied settings as deserts, rainforests, savannas, tundra, mountains, and plains. The degree to which society can use and manage resources sustainably is a primary determinant of current and future well-being. This project will provide global-scale empirical tests of possible answers to critical questions in long-standing debates regarding the geography and evolution of land tenure and subsistence strategies. The investigators will demonstrate the utility of approaches developed in biogeography and evolutionary biology for addressing theoretical issues from multiple disciplines regarding drivers of global geographic patterns in natural resource management. Project findings will provide policy makers and others with critical insights about the constraints and opportunities different contexts offer for more sustainable planning. The project will demonstrate the utility of a global, publicly accessible, interdisciplinary database developed by the investigators to facilitate studies of cultural diversity and other dimensions of resource management and use. The project also will valuable interdisciplinary education and training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students for for post-doctoral researchers

Layman's description

Why do some societies rely more on hunting and gathering, while others rely more on agriculture or pastoralism? Why do some own land communally and others use private property? What determines how these systems of resource management change over time? As the social and ecological conditions that societies face change, adapting resource management strategies is critical for survival. However, societies’ knowledge systems, technology and social institutions may limit their ability to adjust resource management strategies over time. The project will explore the factors that shape the diverse systems of land tenure and the strategies societies use for subsistence.

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