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The Resource Buffer Theory: Connecting the Dots from Conservation to SustainabilityAuthor(s): Peter E. Black
Source: In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 385-390
Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: View PDF (210 B)
DescriptionReview of conservation history and scientific developments helps us understand relationships between humans, environment, and sustainability. Applying “conservation” to natural resources and practical resource management occurred early in the Twentieth Century; practical economic definitions of conservation and natural resource followed. Resource surpluses underpin the luxury of conservation in which we currently bask. We are not paying attention to the fact that accumulated natural science discoveries about wide-ranging resource distribution -- so specialized that many scientists are unaware of each others’ works -- are remarkably alike. The pattern -- the Resource Buffer Theory -- demands recognition, understanding, and emulation to ensure humankind’s survival. Buffers are vast amounts of resources that are as essential to species survival as are the few units of the resource utilized by individuals; despite their vastness, they often display delicate limits. The terrestrial resource buffers to which we have access and on which we depend are Hardin’s global commons. Maintaining a large biodiversity buffer is paramount. The distribution of carbon -- the stuff of life and a critical linkage between the hydro- and biospheres -- contradicts the pattern, indicative of Planet Earth’s overpopulation. Consequent global change events are signaling us that humankind’s oblivious violation of the ubiquitous environmental pattern provides an unparalleled challenge to our survival. Faced with the imperative of sustainability, we need to connect the dots, to control the Earth’s human population and activities including resource use and waste, and to under-stand and thereby proactively emulate the Resource Buffer Theory in our natural re-sources management policies and practices.
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CitationBlack, Peter E. 2006. The Resource Buffer Theory: Connecting the Dots from Conservation to Sustainability. In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 385-390
Keywordsmonitoring, assessment, sustainability, Western Hemisphere, sustainable management, ecosystem resources, Resource Buffer Theory
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