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 []

Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 1999 9:36 PM

To: agr99-Conference

Cc: 'Ag-Success-L'

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.


Lucio Munoz

In. Agr. & MS AgriEcon

Vancouver, Canada


From Mares

To: 'agr99-conference'

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 []

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;


Lucio Munoz

Ing. Agr. & MS AgrEcon

Vancouver, Canada.


March/13/1999/FAO-MFCAL CONFERENCE: Munoz

comment on Primavesi

From: Toledo/Lucio Munoz []

To: agr99-Conference

cc: 'Ag-Success-L'

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 []

To: agr99-Conference

cc: 'Ag-Success-L'

Dear Colleagues!

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.

Best regards,



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 <>

To: agr99-Conference <>

CC: "'Ag-Success-L'" <>

Dear Friends,

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;

Lucio Munoz

Vancouver, Canada


March/24/1999/FAO-MFCAL CONFERENCE: Summay 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

landholders (McGarry).

- 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

clear (Magat).

- 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

Agriculture (Taranto).

- 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).

D. Warnings:

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

(Staljanssens, Burguera).

- 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

indigenous communities.


- 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.

Best wishes.


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.

> Mike

> **************************************************


> By Elinor Ostrom

> CIFOR Occasional Paper No. 20

> Feb. 1999



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 Nicaragua

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

following comments:

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

the lahar;

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

expected desaster(D);

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

Development Market

7) Beyond Traditional Sustainable Development: Sustainability Theory and

Sustainability Indices Under Ideal Present-Absence Qualitative

Comparative Conditions

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

Toward Sustainability

10) Developing A Rapid Deforestation Assessment and Planning Methodology

For Central America Based on Qualitative Comparative Analysis /



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.