||A process or system of decision-making about the use, conservation and future of what has been labelled as a resource. The scale of resource management may range from a single resource, e.g. fish, through to the global ecosphere. Resource management may be conducted through a rational, scientific-technical ends-means approach, or it may explicitly incorporate values (More et al., 1996). Ends-means management involves meeting clearly defined objectives by devising appropriate administrative structures, selecting and employing appropriate management tools and creating effective implementation strategies: in this context, environmental problems are generally seen as results of inadequate or inappropriate management structures, rather than from values, ethics, ideology and power relationships.
Resource management involves the interrelationship of many decisions by private sector organizations, government bodies, environmental groups, community groups and individual householders. The choices for resource management structures range from the currently unfashionable state-socialism model of eastern Europe and other countries, through to no state \'interference\', as advocated by self-labelled Free Market Environmentalists (e.g. Julian Simon, 1981) and the Wise Use Movement in western North America. Resource management structures generally include some form of state-private sector interaction. Sometimes this is formalized into partnerships, as in the Landcare groups in Australia (Curtis and De Lacy, 1996), but often it involves governments funding programmes and subsidizing activities that are left to the individual landholder or consumer to follow through. There has been a trend, in countries such as New Zealand (see May et al., 1996), for the public sector management of resources to be handled at the local, rather than national, level of government. However, this is not the case throughout the world for resources that are considered critical to a country\'s \'national interest\'. Within the public sector, resource management also includes legislating and managing state-owned resources or resource-using industries. This latter role is still important, but in the 1990s has been eroded due to the privatization strategies of many governments who have attempted to make such industries attractive for private ownership. The requirement of corporate profitability necessitates new regulatory or monitoring approaches to ensure that natural-resource management does not neglect crucial environmental and social considerations. The issues of who should regulate, and how, have become important. Business groups often favour self-regulation, but this is deemed unacceptable by many environmental, community and left-wing political groups.
Academic work on resource management has also included critiques from political-economy perspectives and the behavioural geography approach to analysing decision-making behaviour within firms, with some academics and practitioners working on the integration of these in the development of effective resource management strategies. However, unlike some political-economy approaches, they often favour economic incentives over regulation as effective resource management tools, a difference that can be traced back to deep ideological divides between structuralism and pluralism. The resource management approaches favoured by authors such as Pearce and Turner (1990) and Turner (1995) focus on the creation of new markets to permit trade in resource and pollution permits, for example. This approach is often favoured where ecosystems are threatened by the successful conservation of a particular species, e.g. elephants, and some form of culling is considered desirable, but is controversial.
Recent work in environmental management has focused on the establishment of international standards by the International Organization for Standardization, a non-government organization based in Geneva. ISO 14000 relates to the standardization of environmental management systems and their components, e.g. environmental audits. This is both a management process, and a yardstick for more localized processes. While this aspect of resource and environmental management is supported by many people, governments and businesses, many parts of the environmental movement see it as tokenism in relation to the size and character of environmental issues. While the two are not necessarily separate, the division between managing resources (or the wider term \'environments\'), and humans managing themselves as part of nature, is a key division that will not be easily overcome. The concept of sustainable development attempted to address this division, but has been criticized for the manner in which it was done.Â (PM)
References Aplin, G. 1998: Australians and their environment. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.Â Curtis, A. and De Lacy, T. 1996: Landcare in Australia: beyond the expert farmer. Agriculture and Human Values 13 1: 20-31.Â Johnston, R. 1983: Resource analysis, resource management and the integration of physical and human geography. Progress in Physical Geography 13: 127-46.Â Manning, E. 1990: Presidential Address: sustaining development, the challenge. The Canadian Geographer 34 4: 290-320.Â May, P. et al. 1996: Environmental management and governance: intergovernmental approaches to hazards and sustainability. London and New York: Routledge.Â More, T., Averill, J. and Stevens, T. 1996: Values and economics in environmental management: a perspective and critique. Journal of Environmental Management 48: 397-409.Â Nesmith, C. and Wright, P. 1995: Gender, resources and environmental management. In B. Mitchell, ed., Resource and environmental management in Canada: addressing conflict and uncertainty. New York and Toronto: Oxford University Press, 80-98.Â Pearce, D. and Turner, R.K. 1990: The economics of natural resources and the environment. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf.Â Simon, J. 1981: The ultimate resource. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Â Turner, R.K. 1995: Environmental economics and management. In T. O\'Riordan, ed., Environmental science for environmental management. Essex: Longman, 30-44.Â Wolfe-Keddie, J. 1995: Gender, resources and environmental management. In B. Mitchell, ed., Resource and environmental management in Canada: addressing conflict and uncertainty. New York and Toronto: Oxford University Press, 55-79.
Suggested Reading Aplin (1998).Â May, P. et al. 1996: Devolution and cooperation: resource management in New Zealand. Environmental management and governance: intergovernmental approaches to hazards and sustainability. London and New York: Routledge, 43-68.Â Mitchell, B., ed., 1995: Resource and environmental management in Canada: addressing conflict and uncertainty. New York and Toronto: Oxford University Press.Â Turner (1995).