Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Upland Ecosystem Management

by Antonio C. Antonio
December 26, 2014

The four basic and fundamental principles of management --- therefore, (1) planning, (2) organizing, (3) directing and (4) controlling --- apply in most organized (or even individual) endeavours.  Upland ecosystem management, however, has additional peculiarities that also need to be considered.  These are…

IDENTIFICATION OF LAND USE MANAGEMENT GOALS – The hardest part in identifying the land use management goals is who will identify them.  Participatory management will be the best strategy in this case.  Indigenous knowledge plus production technologies should be the perfect combination in the planning stage.  The use of the land could be translated into explicit objectives and directions.  In the center of the plans and programs should be the upland dwellers whose members are often referred to as “the poorest of the poor”.  Sustainable development (described as the calibrated utilization of the same natural resources between present and future generations) should also be the centrepiece of such land use management goals.

IDENTIFICATION OF THE CAPABILITY OF THE LAND – An inventory of available productive resources and the identification of constraints and opportunities present in the resource environment are vital components in determining the capability of the lands.  The limitation f the land is another important consideration in planning land use management goals.

IDENTIFICATION OF AVAILABLE PRODUCTIVE RESOURCES – Identifying the available productive resources is crucial in the sense that it focuses on the productive capabilities of the land relative to the resources and potential for growth and development.  This includes the management of the human-based inputs such as labor, capital and technology.  The main objective of this task is to create a list of resources and the potentials of the land as well as a management system for such so that the proponents can visualize the total resource capability.

IDENTIFICATION OF CONSTRAINTS AND OPPORTUNITIES – In a SWOT analysis, “opportunities” and “threats” are considered “external environments”.  Threats and opportunities must also be inventoried, not only the “strengths” and “weaknesses”.  Knowledge of the economic environment will give planners a better view of the financials (capital and credit) and market.  The social and political environments must also be identified and studied so that they do not become impediments in the realization of the set goals.  A working knowledge of the indigenous and technical environments is also a must established to blend traditional with modern worldviews.  The biological environment also needs to be seriously considered as ecological concerns are also paramount.  Pursuing management goals are best anticipated by determining the total resource environment.

IDENTIFICATION OF THE VARIOUS OUTPUTS – Identifying the various goods and services (outputs) relative to the cost and, more importantly, the environmental stress (degradation, soil erosion, etc.) must also be identified.  Again, it is important to look at the “sustainability” of such environmental intrusion.  Sustainable Management is the utilization of resources by the present generation while leaving the same amount of resources for the productive use of the next generations.  The identification of the optimal mix of goods and services is largely an economic problem whose solutions may be mathematical in nature.  Operations research tools are usually used in this task.  An analysis must be performed to determine the economic feasibility and ecological soundness of the land use management strategy.

MONITORING AND EVALUTION – Oversight functions should be an integral part of any management strategy.  This will allow for re-direction and recalibration of the entire program to attain optimum level of success.

All these, plus a few others you may know, are the peculiar additions to accepted management systems which apply to upland ecosystem management.

Just my little thoughts…

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