Scenarios of sustainability: Scientific and local visions of development in a biodiversity hotspot (Ecuador)
Rhoades, Robert E.
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"Sustainabilityâ" has been a core concept in development approaches in the 1990s. Even so, it has been largely defined in biophysical terms, such as rates of erosion, deforestation, or biodiversity loss. When human dimensions are considered, it is often limited to quantifiable indicators such as levels of income, migration rates, market access, etc. Simulation modeling, remote sensing and GIS make it possible to represent complex human-environment interactions. By enabling the visualization of "if-then" hypotheses (i.e. if a road is built, x% of forest in the area will be lost) these models can assist local planners to understand the consequences of resource management decisions. But such tools are generally developed by outside scientists and do not reflect local people's values and visions.