Towards Conceptual Tool Differentiation in the Sustainability Discussion: Critical Loads and Sustainable Development of Siberian Forests

Warner-Merl NK (1998). Towards Conceptual Tool Differentiation in the Sustainability Discussion: Critical Loads and Sustainable Development of Siberian Forests. IIASA Interim Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: IR-98-058

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Abstract

In the wider debate about the environmental sustainability of various human activities, the literature lacks a specific link between the discussion and the use of differentiated analytical tools for conceptualizing and measuring sustainable development. This paper explores a key issue in the sustainability debate: developing differential analytical tools to define and apply the concept of sustainability. This work seeks to build a theoretical bridge between the root concept of sustainable development and a new concept, critical loads, which both defines and measures the "unsustainability" of certain anthropogenic activities. The development of the sustainability concept is briefly reviewed, followed by the discussion of the difficulty of applying this concept due to relationships between anthropogenic activities and environmental degradation, policy makers can better apply the concept of sustainable development. The author assesses the critical loads concept as a way for policy makers to assess differentiated levels of unsustainability. To illustrate this, the author explores the use of the critical loads concept to assess environmental degradation in Siberia, which is currently being used to contribute to a sustainable development policy for the region. Moving from a dichotomous, relatively static view of human-environment interactions to one which captures varying degrees of these interactions reveals greater insights about the political, economic, and physical relationship between nature and its most influential species, "Homo sapiens."

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Interim Report)
Research Programs: Forestry (FOR)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:10
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2016 18:40
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/5591

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