ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Theory and Practice in Ecology

Ecosystem Management: Towards Merging Theory and Practice by Dhrubajyoti Ghosh, New Delhi, Nimby Books, 2014; pp 270, Rs 390 paperback.

The author sets the tone of this book early on by making a statement that, “We are constantly avoiding an elementary question. What will be the impact on our ecosystem earth of the growing population of the relatively poor and exponentially growing consumption of the relatively rich? A reminder: we do not have endlessly stretchable resources in nature. We are trying to avoid the consequence of this profligacy by being silent or positioning ourselves in some feeble hideouts” (p 6).

In the body of the book, the author has taken a clear position that knowledge of “ecology” has been a constant factor in advancing diverse societies and cultures, particularly in their management and use of natural resources for survival and livelihoods. This includes the knowledge of indigenous communities whom the author likes to identify as “proto-ecologists” (p 122). The book offers a push towards a meeting of the knowledge of “proto-ecologists” in the various indigenous communities and of ecologists who are generating trans-disciplinary knowledge on the natural environment within the paradigm of modern science. Indeed, the author describes the ecologists as scientists with a broader knowledge base, not limited to the traditional limits of life sciences alone. In India, the author points out, “most people, don’t know the meaning of the terms ‘ecology,’ ‘ecosystem approach’ or ‘ecosystem management.’ These terms have been translated from English into regional languages, but not many use them. But well-known historians have recorded outstanding instances of managing forests, water resources, urban space and landscapes” (p 9).

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