MY VIEWS 1999 : March-June
March/10/1999/FAO-MFCAL CONFERENCE: Munoz comment on Smith
[Moderator's note: Following are comments by Munoz and Mares on Smith
discussing systems theory, holistic thinking, and sustainability. The
moderators thank Smith, Munoz, and Mares for these important contributions.
As we are moving the discussion to conclusions, hypotheses and roles
(Questions 8 and 9), we invite someone to please formulate these ideas as
possible conclusions or hypotheses. Thank you.]
From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz [SMTP:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 1999 9:36 PM
Subject: Re: Functions, Comments by Smith
Adding to your comments, there are two type of systems (at least in
theory), closed systems (static) and open systems (dynamic). Close systems do not
interact so the whole should equal to the sum of the parts. In open
systems, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts because of the
interactions. This apparently holds whether you assume conjuctural systems
or not. Holistic thinking is usually associated with open systems, but for
some people it is possible to have a holistic view of a close system. On
the other hand, closed systems maximise because they do not care about the
interactions, positive or negative (main assumption of the traditional
economic development model). Open systems optimise because they have to
balance out the interactions, positive or negative (main requirement for
the existing of SUSTAINABILITY). The comments above could be used to assess
whether or not agricultural systems are closed or opened systems, and
derived that only if agricultural systems are opened systems there is room
for agricultural sustainability. Otherwise, the shift from traditional
sustainable agriculture (sustained agriculture) to sustainability
(self-sustained agriculture) may not happen. Your comments about systems
do not appear to contradict this view.
In. Agr. & MS AgriEcon
FROM MARES - EXTRACTION
subject: Some comments
I also tend to agree with Burt Smith when he calls our attention to the
Fact that although we claim to be using a systems, holistic thinking, many
examples concentrate in the technology component and some other local
socio-economic component, without attempting to relate the viability of the
proposed case to the driving forces acting at national and international
March/11/1999/FAO-MFCAL CONFERENCE: Conclusions and roles
From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Dear Friends. Following the moderator's note, I will share with you my
view on how questions 8 and 9 relate to all the successes and the few
failures that were posted and I could follow up:
- the fact that the framework posted at the beginning includes trade offs
and external enabling factors implies that the agricultural system is
being addressed here as being an open system, and this allows us to talk
about the multi-function values of agriculture;
- therefore, we should aim at optimisation of net benefits instead of
maximisation. This means that we have to find ways to move from the
traditional closed system view of agriculture since there are limits
(sustained agriculture) to an opened system view (Agricultural
Sustainability), where local, regional, and global agricultural
self-reliance should be the ideal goal;
- the successes and failures discussed can be traced to two general
enabling/disabling factors, incentives and regulations. In an open
system, the presence of the right incentives and regulations at the same
time is a necessary and sufficient condition for agricultural
sustainability to take place. This is because having the right incentives
and the wrong/weak regulations or strong regulations and no clear
incentives can be contra-productive. The first one may limit the amount
of success that could be achieved/could have been achieved; and the second
one may lead to frustration and neglect;
- on the other hand, agricultural sustainability seems to require a nice
match between enabling factors (incentives and regulations) and the
multifunctions of agriculture. In other words, if as stated in some of the
posting that the agricultural systems have social, economic, and
environmental functions, then agricultural sustainability requires
consistent enabling factors (social, economic, and environmental incentives
and regulations). Otherwise, success will be limited and failure more
- perhaps a summary of successful cases (unsuccessful cases) identifying
the enabling (disabling) factors could shade a sound insight into the
degree of sustainability in which each of these projects succeeded
- apparently, the road toward agricultural sustainability is becoming
wider and open as environmental and social concerns become still more
Comments are welcome;
Ing. Agr. & MS AgrEcon
March/13/1999/FAO-MFCAL CONFERENCE: Munoz
comment on Primavesi
From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz [email@example.com]
Subject: Re: Conclusions and Roles, Primavesi
Dear Mr. Primavesi. You described the Maximal Sustainable Farm as an open
system from the micro-level to the macro-level. I would be interested in
knowing how do you plan to maximise an open system. I may be wrong, but I
think we can not do that. Perhaps you meant the "optimum sustainable
March/16/1999/FAO-MFCAL CONFERENCE: Primavesi
Response to Munoz
From: Odo Primavesi [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Excuse me my mistake. I meant what Munoz did: optimise the system, from
micro to macro level (Earth); the process is very similar. And the micro
level will succeed when also in the macro level something will be done:
border effect. A big/macro/global border effect! In nature, and clearly in
the tropics, you can observe a sharp increase of biomass production per
hectare, when you increase the biodiversity, the organic matter in soil,
the soil protection against water loss and high temperature, and this in
turn allows a bigger production of biomass, up to a maximum limit (in the
humid tropics) around 350-370 metric tons of dry matter/ha. In a opposite
way, a soil under tropical forest, with the same organic matter content as
a soil under temperate climate, may collapse in 6 months (under a cash
crop: soybean; I have seen this with my own eyes; I was astonished!)
against the 50-100 years in the temperate zone. So my initial idea of
maximise biomass production was considering, not only to optimise
production considering the actual availability of water and energy, but
the possibility to increase the resident water (not irrigation), reducing
water losses (rain, evapotranspiration reducing temperature and others).
The few main old recommended practices are: shade (of soil, and plants),
windbreaks, increase of stable organic matter on/in soil, return of
lacking minerals and biodiversity (crop rotation, intercropping and
others). Irrigation? Could be, when reliable!
So, I understand optimising, considering that in general I can increase the
natural production factors.
March/19/1999/FAO-MFCAL CONFERENCE: Munoz Comment
on Asian NGO Coalition
Subject: Re: Conclusions and Roles, Asian NGO Coalition
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 15:06:30 -0800 (PST)
From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz <email@example.com>
To: agr99-Conference <agr99-Conference@fao.org>
CC: "'Ag-Success-L'" <Ag-Success-L@mailserv.fao.org>
The concerns expressed in this posting to me summarizes the existing social
sustainability concerns of agricultural development, which brings me to the
following situation: It appears that win-win situations involving social
groups and economic groups or social groups and ecological groups are hard
to find at the local level while win-win situation between environmentalist
and economic groups appear to be more common. Does the success/failure
stories presented so far support this empirical observation? If yes, what
may be the implications of this for global/local agricultural
Have a nice weekend;
March/24/1999/FAO-MFCAL CONFERENCE: Summay Week 7
SUMMARY WEEK 7
Dear Ag-Success-L Subscribers,
We would like to thank all of you who have taken the time to contribute
your thoughts and views on Questions 8-9 and Question B over the last 10
days. This summary covers only those messages that were received by 22
March, 1999. We will post a final batch of messages from participants
tomorrow morning (25, March). Although any further messages received will
be used in subsequent reporting and analysis by the e-conference
management team, we will no longer include them in postings to the
You will remember that we asked three questions:
QUESTION 8: Your conclusions and hypotheses on strengthening
character of agriculture and land
QUESTION 9: Your conclusions about the relative roles of various
QUESTION B: (a) Why is it that we have so few examples from the national
scale and above?
QUESTIONS 8-9 were answered and discussed in 41 exchanges (up to 22/3) and
QUESTION B, which generated 6 replies. The final section of this summary
covers 12 comments of a more general or corrective nature.
QUESTION 8: Your conclusions and hypotheses on strengthening
character of agriculture and land
A. Minimum conditions that should be met:
- acceptance by farmers and governments alike of need for long-term
landcare ethic (Petheram: "put enlightened, participating people first",
Gonzaga, McGarry; DelSol with reference to Cuban cooperatives); integrate
resource conservation with production functions (Balasubramanian,
Primavesi, Staljanssens); but Byrne maintains, with reference to salinity
problems in south-west Australia, that multifunctional agriculture should
shift its focus from anthropocentric to ecological considerations.
- recognise also the multiple "functions" of the people living in a rural
(e.g. mountainous) area as guardians of biodiversity, cultural identity,
landscape, local wisdom and quality of life (Tillman).
- utilise more fully the capacity of the land to transform wastes of one
activity (e.g. livestock) into an input for another activity like cropping
- combine short, medium and long term activities (Ambatolampy).
- multifunctionality involves intensification and therefore requires
continuous education for farmers (Magat, Carretero, McGarry), geared to
their specific circumstances (Kleps), but also for their advisors, city
folks and policy makers (Petheram); thereby including the private sector
and using all technology delivery agencies (Balasubramanian).
- continuous research (system), both fundamental and applied (Petheram,
Burguera), involving long-term commitment and close contacts with
- empowering (more autonomy for) primary producers to access new
information, markets, financial and other services, to seek suitable
solutions themselves (Petheram, Balasubramanian, Carretero, DelSol,
Tillman); participatory bottom up approaches should be complementary to
(should meet!) top down approaches (Ambatolampy).
- national policy that accepts that sustainable farming goes beyond
economic rationalism (even if this goes at the expense of maximising
production and minimising food prices) (Petheram, Burguera); with
agriculture being considered as an opened rather than closed system we
should aim at optimisation of net benefits rather than maximisation (Munoz,
Mares, Smith, Gonzaga, Milz, Primavesi); this is supported by Nigh with
reference to the cocoa industry: the high-input plantation model has failed
and small-scale, shade-grown cocoa has the future; however, Mallawaarachchi
points out, that in an open system what may be optimal at the local scale
may be far from optimal at higher scales.
- incentives and regulations should not run against one another (Munoz);
good prices should be paid to good products (King, Primavesi, Carretero);
the benefits of multifunctionality to stakeholders should be (made) very
- mutual learning: respect for views of (and optimising for) all
stakeholders (Balasubramanian, Staljanssens, Ambatolampy).
B. Hypotheses and concluding statements:
- future of agriculture and land depends on political policies and hence
the will of mainly city people to see farming areas and resources
safeguarded (Petheram, Burguera); to pay the full cost (i.e. including that
of our resource use today for future generations) (Russell).
- the road toward agricultural sustainability opens and is becoming wider
as environmental and social concerns become more binding (Munoz).
- multifunctionality is the reality of rural existence in many countries,
especially those countries where the majority of the population is rural
(and in most cases poor) (Russell).
- multifunctionality is a way of decreasing dependence on a commodity
market that small producers cannot control (Nigh, Sprinkel, Primavesi).
- put local sustainability first, e.g. with Community Supported
- win-win situations involving social and economic groups, or social and
ecological groups are hard to find, while those between environmentalist
and economic groups appear to be more common. If so, what are implications
for global and local agricultural sustainability (Munoz)?
- alliances for sane products between consumers and producers (Tillman).
- both relationships among functions and those between functions and
enabling factors are case-bound (Staljanssens).
- where agriculture is in competition with other (especially urban) land
uses its sustainability has to be politicised, at the policy level, grass
roots level and bureaucracy level (Mason with reference to Sydney Region,
Australia, supported by Balasubramanian).
C. Special recommendation for tropical environments:
- include tree crops (e.g. coconut) in any combination of functions for
agricultural land (intercropping), for the sake of soil protection and
micro-climate (Magat); this also contributes to the ecological buffering
capacity of the land (Primavesi) and helps micro-organisms to do their
work in the context of a 'living soil' (Doebel).
Several participants pointed at the difficulties of putting what we know
should be done into action, e.g.:
- 'success' too often depends on outside person, institution and financial
source which are withdrawn sooner or later (Velez).
- avoid development of an 'environment of subsidy' which leads to
opportunist behaviour and inefficiency (Carretero).
- first clarify the land ownership situation in a simple and cheap way
- multifunctionality is not the aim of changing a farming system, but more
like a by-product of moving toward more sustainable ways of production,
which may imply that benefits come from the individual parts rather than
from multifunctionality (McGarry).
- market forces and the absence of safety nets for many farmers encourage
them to mine the land (Velez).
- traditional, monofunctional agriculture is 'war' (against plagues,
diseases and weeds); war is business because we need more sophisticated
weapons all the time; therefore strong global economic forces act against a
shift to agriculture as a managed coexistence between different organisms
- the point raised earlier by Aspelund, that this 'global economy' tends
to act against farming systems that are locally considered sustainable,
was supported by several (Russell, Borcherding, Burguera, Primavesi,
Mitti); globalisation has intensified pressures to industrialise
agriculture and aquaculture (Miyake); solutions were sought in niche
development (Neunteufel) and global marketing for sustainably produced
goods (Borcherding); however, this argument should not go as far as
denying resource owners the right to sell outside a local economy
(Russell); Buchan advises us to read Bossel's book "Earth at the
Crossroads, Paths to a Sustainable Future (1998).
- don't expect too much from native knowledge (Velez), but marshal all
available knowledge and experience (Sucosh): use the benefits of
globalisation while suppressing its negative impact on local sustainability
- empowerment and participation are no guarantee for sustainability
(Staljanssens), it depends on what people are empowered for (Primavesi).
- for the dryland areas in Africa there are no success stories to report
QUESTION 9: Your conclusions about the relative roles of various
- both strong national institutions and NGO's have a huge and vital role
in helping countries to establish enabling structures and networks
(Petheram, Burguera, Russell).
- decentralised rural institutions and industries need to learn these
ecological principles (Primavesi) while they are developed to provide basic
services (health, education, potable water, electricity, transport,
tele/electronic communication) and jobs for people to stay in rural areas
(Balasubramanian, Carretero); this should include institutions responsible
for seed banks and nurseries (Milz).
- in local organisations direct stakeholder participation (individual or
collective) needs to be promoted; such organisations should not become
passive, price-increasing agents (Carretero, DelSol); support the potential
that farmers have themselves (Tillman).
- as it is a utopian vision that human actions be ethic-driven and thus
favour human health and the environment, global educational activities and
initiatives like this one by FAO are important (Gonzaga, Primavesi).
- institutional development is necessary at all levels (McGarry); close
co-operation and proper participation is essential (Ambatolampy); roles
are different for each level: e.g. for NGO's, distinguish between local
ones, which participate in planning and monitoring of land use and deserve
greater consideration (Byrne); national ones, which should participate in
policy development and enactment; regional ones, which should serve as a
link between national NGO's and global organisations: networking,
filtering up and down; similar for private commercial sectors and public
sector (Magat, Staljanssens); distinguish between NGO's speaking for e.g.
rural people and people's organisations able to speak for themselves,
between non-profit and commercial private sector, and between powerful
(often international) and week interest groups like small-scale producers
in the South (McKeon).
- private companies could be natural partner if they also adapt to
diversity and organic ethics (Tillman), but only if they can foresee a good
stream of profit (Russell).
- the public sector is under pressure, but if they learn (Tillman) could
support sustainable producers; create a suitable legal and institutional
framework (Staljanssens); ensure there is no imbalance of market power
(Russell) and equitable access to negotiating for that such mechanisms
facilitate dialogue and bring pressure to bear where it is needed (McKeon);
environmental legislation (restrictions) need to go together with practical
solutions for adequately managing the environment (Primavesi).
- important for agricultural education, NGO's and/or agricultural
research institutions to create partnerships (Kleps); together they should
be concerned with empowering farmers and engendering self-reliance,
investigate how farmers learn in order to improve farmer training, bearing
in mind that poverty causes rivalry, environmental destruction and a lack
of insight into the underlying causes of one's problems (Page).
- don't generalise: the actual configuration of the various actors
(institutional or not) is just as "location-specific" as multifunctional
agriculture itself (McKeon).
(a) Why is it that we have so few examples from the national scale and
- Answer: It is at the farm and local level that creativity and control
regarding multiple issues are found. At higher levels (both academic and
bureaucratic) the focus tends to be on single issues whereby many of the
farmers' questions are left unanswered (Dickson),supported by Smith: "if we
are truly interested in knowledge that works, then the local level is where
it is to be found".
(b) A few examples at this higher scale were nevertheless provided (for
detailed information, please consult the contributors) :
- COCONUT promotion scheme by Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC)
since 1992. Its aim is to: (a) cater for increased demand (by the Chinese
in particular) for this healthy food; (b) fit as a shade- and intercrop in
small- and medium-scale farms in the region; and (c) provide cash and
healthy food need to local producers. The plan is to expand the plantings
and tendering of green dwarf aromatic coconut and covers Malaysia, Sri
Lanka, the Philippines and Thailand (Magat).
- DIRECT DRILL SYSTEM in Brazil, starting in 1970 and reaching 10 million
ha in 1998, initially with middle- to large-scale cash crop farmers
(wheat-soybean, corn) but recently also with smallholders. For this
system, fertiliser companies worked together with farmers' associations,
whose member adapted the machinery to their local needs once they
understood the plant physiology and soil conservation benefits of applying
it. Problems: finding the right machinery and the right species for green
manure and cover crops for specific local conditions; keeping the
scientific and political / bureaucratic support going (Primavesi).
- NATIONAL LANDCARE PROGRAM in Australia, which offers funding incentives
for farmers to form groups to undertake local landcare and production
enhancing projects. However, understanding of (urban) population about
seriousness of land degradation is still poor: they won't subsidise
Landcare if it raises food prices (Petheram).
- CAMPFIRE community wildlife program in Zimbabwe (just mentioned by
- CENDI Research and Dissemination Centre for Agricultural Sustainable
Production Systems in Venezuela, which was started in 1992 as a 0.85 ha
model farm (NGO), entered into an agreement with a Colombian NGO, CIPAV,
and has received over 8000 visitors. Last year 18000 small family farmers
were reached leading to 60 community centres in Portuguesa State (western
Venezuela) based on the Cendi-farm model. This model involves integration
of different productive subsystems, recycling of nutrients,
individual-community ancestral knowledge, eco-principles within regional
agro-ecological constraints, willingness to innovate, constant search for
income generation and competitiveness, etc. The success of this project is
explained by the visible crisis of the small producer and mainstream
agricultural research and extension, including the role of government
- ASIAN NGO COALITION ON FOOD SECURITY (introduced by Miyake) produced a
consensus Declaration in 1996 by 101 participants from NGOs and Pos from 18
Asian and Pacific countries. It covers equitable access to resources, trade
policy enhancing food security and investments in line with a Code of
Conduct for best practices, which should strengthen links between food
reserves and consumers and benefit small farmers, fisherfolk, women and
SOME CORRECTIVE AND CONCLUDING STATEMENTS BY CONFEREES
- The whole can never be more than the sum of its parts (!?): the summary
of answers to question 5, outlining conditions under which this could
occur, was wrong (Munoz).
- Riparian buffers should be considered as having a net positive impact on
agricultural production (Byrne); but how to convince a farmer to deny his
cattle access to the stream (Primavesi)?
- We tend to use the term "multifunctionality" in too many different
ways: multiplicity. At least 4 multiplicities could be distinguished:
multicrop (intercropping and succession), multiuse (food production plus
firewood plus etc.), multiuser (different types of stakeholders for e.g.
the same piece of land); and multifunctionality in a narrower sense (to
mean agriculture serving multiple functions) (Nasr).
- We should avoid thinking that multifunctionality is automatically better
than monofunctionality (Nasr).
- The highly industrialised current corn-soybean cropping system (95% of
the agricultural activity in the Midwestern states of the USA), which
produces a significant portion of the world's food, is not sustainable:
soil loss, herbicides, insecticides, pest-resistant varieties (Moore,
inspired by Dickson). To Byrne the answer is to be sought in
'permaculture', which involves environmental repair and preservation of
endemic ecopsystems, a.o.
- More agricultural research and policy making is required to support
those who, in marginal climatic zones in Asia, Latin America and Africa
depend directly on the produce of their land under highly unstable
conditions (vanDijk, supported by Grantham).
- One way of bringing farmers and academics closer to each other again
could be a "Competing for Sustainability institutional experiment", whereby
existing research stations would offer their land to experimentation by
farmers and encourage researchers to convince the farmers of the relevance
their own proposed experiments (Doebel).
We hope that you find this summary useful.
April/21/1999/ELAN: Re: Self-govenance and forest
Comment: It appears that most countries have small pieces of forest
islands today and that the indigenous and non-indigenous populations
dependent on them are very heterogeneous and large, with high levels of
poverty and landlessness, and therefore, an apparent high discount rate.
Can self governance have a change under these conditions, which appear to
better reflect reality?
On Wed, 21 Apr 1999, Mike wrote:
> Just thought the list might find this interesting.
> SELF-GOVERNANCE AND FOREST RESOURCES
> By Elinor Ostrom
> CIFOR Occasional Paper No. 20
> Feb. 1999
May/13/1999/ELAN: AFTER MITCH
Dear Friends. I you remember, soon after Mitch hit there was a
proposal by Tom Fletcher to carry out a scientific investigation into the
causes of the desaster, and deforestation was suspected as the culprist.
On the other hand, we had ACERCA bringing an Environmental Justice
deletagion to Nicaragua.
Apparently, Tom Fletcher carried out an investigation " not
intended as a scientific investigation", and apparently he found nobody to
be blamed. The disaster was going to happen any anyway then, or later
in the future he indicates. See
Casista Volcano: The Inevitability of Natural Desasters.
I wonder, if we expect with such centainty that a disaster of
those proportions will take place, why were those communities there?. Who
deforested there?. What was done to prevent that?....I think we need to
learn from this as most of the disasters could be placed within this
"inebitability characteristics". Here in developed countries, there is
something call "Prevention prepareness" for earthquakes and other expected
Did ACERCA found nobody to be blamed too during their trip to
Nicaragua too?. I may have missed their posting about their results,but
their latest posting indicates that apparently no much has been done yet.
May/18/1999/ELAN: Re: After Mitch/implications
Dear Tom. Thank you for your complete response. Continuing with the
positive discourse and what can be learned, I would like to make the
The core points in your article are three:
1) a Lahar movement caused the disaster;
2) human activity had no bearing on the start, path, and ultimate size of
3) the disaster was going to happen sooner or later.
I will use one of my "conjuctural causality framework" to derived
the implications of your core points policy wise:
a) Difining the causal problem
Disasters(D) in general can be defined as events caused by the
interaction of ground fources(A) and underground forces(B), and it can be
stated as follows:
D = AB
b) Ground forces(A) can be thought as being underlined by the
conjuctural interaction of Natural Ground Forces(A1) and Human
Ground Forces(A2) so that the following is true:
A = A1A2
c) Underground forces(B) can be thought as being underlined by the
conjuctural interaction of Natural Underground Forces(B1) and Human
Underground forces(B2) so that the following is true:
B = B1B2
d) Sustituting in a) we have the following:
D = AB
D = A1A2B1B2
e) Rearranging terms in d) we have the following:
D = A1A2B1B2
D = A1B1A2B2
D = NF.HF ; where NF = A1B1 = Natural Forces; HF = A2B2 = Human Forces
f) Soon after Mitch hit, Tom suggested the need for a scientific
investigation on the causes of the Desaster(D), and then Deforestation(DF)
was thought to be one of the main culprist. This implies that at that
time, NF = 1 because the focused was only on the Human Factor(HF), and the
model being applied was:
D = HF = A2B2
g) However, the tree core points that Tom raised after he carried out his
investigation imply the following:
1) That HF = 1 because it has not impact of the damage
caused, and therefore, A2 = B2 = 1 ;
2) That A1 = 1 since ground forces had not impact ;
3) Hence, Tom's core points reduced the model in item d) to the
D = B1 ;
The above indicates that only underground natural forces(B1),
in this case, the Lahal, is to be blamed for the disaster. This is Tom's
major claim. Notice that the above model impliest that A1A2B2 = 1 so
that A1 = A2 = B2 = 1 ;
h) Implications of Tom's findings:
1) Natural Ground Forces(A1) such as Rain(Mitch) did not play a
2) Human Ground Forces(A2) such as deforestation or urbanization
did not play a role;
3) Human Underground Forces(B2) such as mining, oil
drilling, underground...did not play a role;
4) Hence, nothing could be done to prevent the Damage(D) caused by
the underground natural forces(B1): no policy affecting human
forces or natural ground forces could be useful to minimize
the impact of the desaster(D).
i) My comment here is that in the case of this desaster are:
1) the implication that B2 = 1 seems appropriate because there is
no evidence that Human Underground Sources(B2) are present;
2) the implication that A1 = A2 = 1 seems not to be appropriate
since there is evidence that A1 and A2 have been at work, which may
affect the speed at which B1 takes place, and the over all level of
3) therefore, the model should be:
D = A1A2B1 ; then sustituting: A = A1A2
D = AB1
The above implies that ground forces(A) and underground natural
forces(B1) were responsible for the level of damage(D) caused. Stated
this way, the desaster problem(D) has ground and underground implications
which can at least be used to designed mitigation and prevention programs
to minimize the social, economic, and environmental implications of the
j) Since Tom indicates that the area is still prone to another
desaster(D), then the above model D = AB1 could be still useful this
time around to implement those mitigation and prevention programs to
minimize the actual level of the desaster(D). But as ACERCA said, there
are no plans, locally or internationally, for this. God bless Central
Comments are welcome;
Note: I left a small segment of Tom's posting for reference.
On Fri, 14 May 1999, Ecoturismo Internacional de Nicaragua S.A. wrote:
> Dear Lucio and ELAN,
> Thanks to Lucio for his comments on my article. It was not intended as a
> peer-reviewed scientific article. We never could convince anyone to fund
> the study I had proposed after Mitch, so the information contained in the
> article is based solely on observations by myself, EINSA staff, and
> discussions with geologists. It probably represents the "best" information
> available as of date of publication on the disaster. In other words, since
> no one on the EINSA team is a practicing geologist or vulcanologist,
> although the article was graciously "vetted" by a vulcanologist to preclude
> factual errors, I felt it necessary to provide the disclaimer. There will
> apparently be a peer-reviewed article (I believe in "Nature"), based on
> in-depth scientific study, published in the near future by Dr. Kevin Scott,
> a USGS specialist in this type of disaster.
May/21/1999/ELAN: Re: After Mitch/implications
Dear Friend. There is at least one person in the list who wants to take
on my posting, but he is having difficulty figuring out the terminology
and what "conjunctural" means. As a result, he considered my posting not
"a serious posting". It is a serious posting intended to shake the
curiosity of some members of ELAN.
And for those who would like to at least satisfy their curiosity,
this "conjuctural thinking" is one of the tools used by QUALITATIVE
COMPARATIVE RESEARCHERS, and it seems to be little known, at least in
BC, Canada. However, I saw this thinking used in the USA while in Ohio
State, and since then I became interested.
You can check Charles Ragin's papers specially his 1987 award winning
book called: "beyond quantitative and qualitative research:..." and Tom
Rudel's 1996 paper called "regional patterns of tropical
deforestation...." or check other qualitative comparative researchers in
the same line of thinking as Ragin.
Do not forget that there may be two ways to the scientific method:
a piecewise method and system method, which may lead to the same answer
if well stated. I have used here a system method, and if you look at
it from a piecewise point of view, I will expect you will have a hard
time trying to understand or rationalized. If I would have used a
piecewise approach, everybody seems to do that.
If there is interest, I will reply to comments. If not, I
just hope I touched the curiosity of a few. But the posting was a
serious attemp to show how this type of thinking could be used to make
sense of systematic processess, in this case, a disaster in my place of
birth, Central America. This is in line with Tom Fletcher's position on
positive discourse and my usual willingness to share ideas.
May/25/1999/ELAN: Re: After Mitch/implications
Dear Friends. Related to my posting, complete references of Charles Ragin
and Tom Rudel/publications have been requested. They are below:
Rudel, Tom and Jill Roper, 1996. Regional Patterns and Historical Trends
in Tropical Deforestation, 1976-1990: A Qualitative Comparative
Analysis. In: AMBIO. Vol. 25. N0.3 May.
Ragin, Charles, C., 1987. The Comparative Method: Moving Beyond the
Qualitative and Quantitative Strategies. University of California
Ragin, Charles, C., 1994. Constructing Social Research: The Unity and
Diversity of Method. Pine Forge Press.
No comments yet and I am in the process of moving so I will
consider my posting from today closed.
Greetings to all;
June/08/1999/ELAN: Comming work related to theory
used in my posting about Mitch
Dear Friends. There seems to be some curiosity about the qualitative
comparative approach I usually used in my postings. Some of the
paper/articles I have written and I hope to publish soon are listed below.
Some of the papers are about to be re-submitted, and others are being
reviewed by potentially interested parties. I hope that this line of
thinking will lead to some positive discourse and change. People
interested in this type of thinking can contact me privately. On the
other hand, open comments are welcome;
Article/Paper Drafts being put available for peer review
1) Non-Traditional Research Methods and Regional Planning Needs in
Developing countries: Is There an Ideal Methodology?
2) A Non-Traditional Regional Assessment and Planning Model Based on
Qualitative Comparative Research
3) A Non-Traditional Regional Deforestation Assessment and Planning
Model Based on Qualitative Comparative Research
4) Developing a Deforestation Assessment and Planning Methodology for
Central America Based on Qualitative Comparative Reseach
5) A Simple Qualiltative Dichotomy Approach for Uncovering the Different
Faces and Personalities of Development and a Sustainability Model
6) An Overview of Some of the Policy Implications of the Eco-Economic
7) Beyond Traditional Sustainable Development: Sustainability Theory and
Sustainability Indices Under Ideal Present-Absence Qualitative
8) Linking Sustainable Development Indicators by Means of Present/Absent
Sustainability Theory and Indices: The Case of Agenda 21
9) Eco-Economic Development Under Social Contraits: How to Redirect it
10) Developing A Rapid Deforestation Assessment and Planning Methodology
For Central America Based on Qualitative Comparative Analysis /
ACTUAL PHD THESIS DRAFT
June/17/1999/ELAN: RE: meio/ambiente
Estimado profesor Moya. Claro que existe ECONOMIA SIN ECOLOGIA, lo que
pasa es que no es sustenible. Tambien existe ECONOMIA Y/O ECOLOGIA SIN
SOCIOLOGIA, los cuales tampoco son sostenibles. Hace casi dos an~os yo
propuse en ELAN una metodologia que demostraba las deferentes modalidades
de desarrollo las cuales existen no por situaciones de gramatica or
definicion pero por conveniencia idealogica y de intereses particulares.
Yo espero publicar un articulo relacionado con esto llamado " A simple
Qualitative Dichotomy Approach for Uncovering the Different Faces and
Personalities of Development and a Sustainability Model". Mi interes
nacio cuando pase un cuestionario en Centro America y note que
instituciones locales e internacionales todavia utilizan el concepto de
"desarrollo sustenido" en un context que ya se abandono en paises
Voy a traducir esto documentos pronto para que compartamos ideas
con el objecto the mejorar comunicacion. Como usted sabe, hay quienes
prefieren conceptos y estructura confusas para evadir responsibilidad.
Nuestra responsabilidad en mi opinion es poner todas estas ideas confusas
en blanco y negro para beneficio de todos: sociedad, ambiente, y economia.
On Thu, 17 Jun 1999, Forja wrote:
> Muchas gracias Michéle por sus palabras. Ojalá que todos los demás
> Compañeros de RED entiendan su punto de vista y comprendan que la campaña
> para evitar usar el vocablo "medio ambiente" o "meio ambiente", no es
> solamente un problema de gramática, además que ese es un grave error de
> lingüística es también un problema de contenido. es por eso nuestra
> insistencia para que los hispanoparlantes, los portugueses, los italianos
>y quienes traducen desde inglés a estos idiomas, comprendan que en lugar de
> usar "medio o meio ambiente" deben aplicar AMBIENTE, que es lo correcto.