School of Environment, Resources and Development, (SERD)

ED76.14 : Society and Natural Resource Management  3(3-0)
Course Objectives:

This course aims at comprehending the social dimensions of the complex natural resource issues by exploring the relationship between society and natural resources. Emphasis is on social and institutional dimensions of common pool natural resources management.

Learning Outcomes:

The students on completion of this courses will be able to:

1.    Comprehend complex socio-ecological systems
2.    Analyse social dimensions of natrual resource management issues
3.    Apply an institutional analysis framework to NRM
4.    Develop innovative solutions to socio-ecological research questions


Course Outline:
I.         Introduction
1.    Introduction to social and economic dimensions of natural resources management
2.    The use and paradigms of the social sciences
3.    Contribution of natural resource and environmental sociology to the study of natural resources
4.    Political economy and political ecology of natural resources

II.        Paradigms and Theoretical Approaches to the Management of Common Pool Natural Resources
1.    “The Tragedy of the Commons” model
2.    The logic of collective action and self-governance
3.    An institutional approach to the study of common pool natural resources
4.    Social constructivism

III.       Issues Related to Use of Natural Resources
1.    Population pressure and resource condition
2.    Dependence, scarcity, and resource condition
3.    Value, attitudes, and cultural perspectives and their effects on natural resources
4.    Conflicts and controversies
5.    Equity issues in natural resource management

IV.      Natural Resource Management Approaches
1.    Stakeholders in natural resource management
2.    Community based management
3.    Co-management

V.       Sustainability of Natural Resource Management
1.    Criteria and indicators of sustainability
2.    Recognizing interdependencies
3.    Concepts of polycentric governance and legal pluralism.

Laboratory Sessions:


1.   Moran, E. F. 2010. Environmental Social Science. Human-Environment Interactions and Sustainability. Wiley-Blackwell, West Sussex.
Reference Books:
1.    Bromley, D. 1992. Making the Commons Work: Theory, Practice, and Policy. ICS Press, San Francisco.
2.    Hirsch, P. and Warren, C. 1998. The Politics of Environment in Southeast Asia: Resources and Resistance. Routledge, London.
3.    Gibson, C. C., M. A. McKean, and E. Ostrom (eds.). 2000. People and Forests: Communities, Institutions, and Governance. The MIT Press, Massachusetts.
4.    Ostrom, E. 1990. Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
5.    Ascher, W. 1995. Communities and Sustainable Forestry in Developing Countries. Institute for Contemporary Studies, San Francisco.
6.    Mitchell, B. 2002. Resource and Environmental Management (second edition). Prentice Hall, Singapore.
7.    Ritchie, B., C. McDougall, M. Haggith, and N. B. de Oliviera. 2000. Criteria and Indicators of Sustainability in Community Managed Forest Landscapes. Center for International Forestry Research, Bogor.
Journals and Magazines:
  1.    Society and Natural Resources [Taylor & Francis]
  2.    Natural Resources Forum [Wiley]
  3.    Journal of Political Ecology [University of Arizona]
  4.    Unasylva [FAO]
  5.    Ambio [Springer]
  6.    Environmental Management [Elsevier]
Time Distribution and Study Load:
Lectures, exercises, group work        : 45 hrs.
Student presentations                        :   6 hrs.
Self-study                                           : 80 hrs.
Teaching and Learning Methods:
  • Direct instructions in the form of class lectures.
  • Self-learning by completing two assignments.
  • Group work assignments
  • Student presentations with consecutive student feedback (peer-group)
  • Readings: assigned to students who will summarise, discuss, and analyse according to specific assignments
  • Regular summaries of course material provided by students
  • Case study applications on frameworks and theory  
Evaluation Scheme:
Both the mid-semester and final exams are closed book exams, carrying 30% and 40% weight respectively. Two assignments to be done by individual student carry 10% and 20% weight respectively. Each student will present his/her second assignment in the class.

Grade “A” will be awarded if a student can demonstrate thorough knowledge and mastery of concepts and techniques and understanding of subject matter with high degree of skill to relate them with real world examples. Grade “B” will be awarded if a student can demonstrate good knowledge and mastery of concepts and understanding of subject matter with good skill of relating them with real work cases. Grade “C” will be awarded if a student can demonstrate some knowledge of the concepts and understanding but lacks skill of relating them with real world cases. Grade “D” will be awarded if a student have poor understanding of concepts and techniques with no or little skill to relate with real world cases. Grade “F” will be awarded if student demonstrates very poor and limited knowledge and understanding of concepts and lacks the skill to relate with real world cases.