Systems methodologies for sustainable natural resources research and development.

Ison, R. L.; Maiteny, P.T and Carr, S. (1997). Systems methodologies for sustainable natural resources research and development. Agricultural Systems, 55 pp. 257–272.



Systems methodologies are helping to reshape the way in which natural resource Research and Development (R&D) is conducted but they are under-utilised and under-researched. This paper outlines some recent trends in systems thinking, and argues the case for the use and further development of systems methodologies for research and development in sustainable natural resource management (NRM R&D). Systems, or complexity, research reveals the inadequacy of development projects which are based on blueprints and certainty derived from linear projections into the future. Two strands of NRM R&D are explored: farming systems research (FSR) and systems learning. Both have been extended from farming to rural livelihood and food systems. This improves their holistic claims but increases demands on them. FSR acknowledges that both natural and socio-economic science are necessary to NRM but has had limited success in synthesising them. The systems learning strand is increasingly apparent but is still under-researched despite successes. Research to further adapt and develop systems methodologies in NRM contexts is identified.

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