Development anthropology and natural resource management

TitleDevelopment anthropology and natural resource management
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1987
AuthorsBrokensha, DW
JournalL'Uomo Societa tradizione sviluppo
Date PublishedSummer 1987
KeywordsFood and Agricultural Organisation (FAO); IDA; integrated pest management; International Union of Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN); local natural resource management; natural resource management; natural resources; UNDP; USAID

This is an opportune time to attempt an overview of this topic, because anthropologists have, in recent years, made important contributions to development policies and projects that are concerned with natural resources. The author examines several domains, including agriculture, pastoralism and range management, and forestry, with passing attention to others (fisheries, water and irrigation, soil conservation and game). In all these domains, he cites specific examples of anthropologists who have played direct and useful roles in development, in collaboration with governmental and international agencies. These agencies are showing an increased awareness of the potential help that anthropologists can provide, thereby creating a generally open and favorable climate for these activities. The contributions of anthropologists to all of these domains are given more prominence in development and create sensitivity to social and environmental concerns.

Development anthropology is a term that has become accepted over the last two decades, referring to the involvement of social anthropologists in planned attempts to encourage social and economic development, particularly (but not exclusively) in the third world. Dealing with the Institute for Development Anthropology, the United States Agency for International Development, United Nations Development Programme, and others, this report gives consideration to the different roles of development anthropology, followed by an analysis of the sorts of skills and training that are required, paying attention particularly to three overlapping fields: local natural resource management, indigenous knowledge systems and local participation. Then a detailed examination of the natural resource domains is provided. Followed by a review of how anthropologists actually work in this field, and finally ending with some conclusions and recommendations for specific actions.