Keywords: ecology, economics, modelling, participatory development, preservation, India, participation, ecological degradation, rural areas, resource pooling, continuous improvement, common pool, environmental impact
Participatory development, a path to ecological preservation: an approach with case studies and modelling
Population is growing and the natural environment is being degraded. These are world-wide phenomena. Both processes need to be slowed down or even reversed, in order to maintain a supply of natural resources for future generations. Initiatives to reverse the process of ecological degradation can be found in rural India. People are first persuaded to pool private property resources, which are mostly unproductive, or labour, and this pool can be extended by common property resources leased by the Government. To this common pool can be assigned a certain state of its ecology, with the aim of continuous improvement. The yield from the common pool is divided equally among the labourers and the resource suppliers, while the complementary part is used for investments in the common pool. This process is illustrated in this paper by four case studies. To formalise this, a participatory model has been formulated, consisting of four variables, namely generated yield, the number of workers, the amount of resources and the ecological state. The model is formulated in a discrete time framework. Owing to non-availability of data on the ecological state, it has been treated endogenously. The parameters of this model are estimated for one specific case, and sensitivity results have been derived by simulating the model. The cases turn out to be an important example of how the ecology can be improved.