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Old 02-02-2010, 11:32 AM   #1
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Giving precedence to the participatory approach

Of all the living beings on the planet, it is the human race that has the intelligence and the ability to alter the environment. No other living creature has caused any damage to the natural environment like the human race. Peterson (1996: 27,2 takes a more hard-hitting approach to linking human ecology with ecosystem management. He advocates four extreme approaches to human ecology that humans use to define their relationship with the planet.

These include:
1. Dominion: This implies rule by a monarch, where humans are held to be in charge of the earth. They can be exploitative or serve the well-being of all, in their role as ‘king’.
2. Stewardship: This paradigm puts humans in the role of the caretaker of the earth, managing the earth in trust as an agent of some employer or client. The client may be the human race or the earth itself.
3. Participation: This role sees humans in symbiosis with other species of the planet, so that a position of equity is conveyed. Humans serve by constructing cooperative and complementary relationships through which all other species are better off.
4. Abdication: Here, all rights to proper living in a particular area are relinquished when such rights conflict with the functional values of other species. Humans are caught in the predator-prey relationship just as other species are.

The implications of these four approaches to ecosystem management, according to Peterson, are that effective human management of the ecosystems will not occur without gaining a clear understanding of the place of people in the context of the ecosystem. In kerala tours and travels across the length and breadth of the state have a common feature. It is the participatory approach, wherein a visitor is taken around to see the natural beauty of the land without altering or damaging the natural surroundings.
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