Communication support for sustainable natural resource management
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When it comes to getting things done in terms of sustainable Natural Resource Management (NRM), different perspectives can guide one's actions. This article first considers the dominant perspective of the bio-physical scientist. It then looks at the economist's perspective which focuses on the generalizations that emerge from studying the rational decisions of large numbers of people. Finally, it introduces the social actor perspective, which emphasizes that people are intentional sense makers, who hold diverse and conflicting objectives, socially construct their realities and negotiate for advantage, accommodate interests and sometimes reach consensus. The social actor perspective is the point of departure for professionals involved in the paradox of inducing voluntary change through communication. This article highlights three communication strategies to achieve sustainable NRM, which requires recognition that the natural resources in question must be managed as a whole (e.g. system). These strategies are: 1) Making things visible, especially in terms of human effects and interests. 2) Fostering policy acceptance, where expertise is utilized to enact regulation of behavior in the public interest. And 3) Facilitating platform processes, which focus on the creation of stakeholders groups and enabling that information is shared concerning their interactions with the natural resource, negotiation options, and common appreciation of differential problems, among others.