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Opportunities and challenges for the pursuit of sustainability under globalization: A study from Costa Rica Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
Rural livelihoods
Forest transition
Forest recovery
Policy transfer
Environmental policy
Qualitative research methodology
Costa Rica
Sustainability
Tropical dry forest
Land use management
Globalization
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
McLennan, Blythe
Supervisor and department
Theresa Garvin (Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Arturo Sanchez-Azofeifa (Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Debra Davidson (Department of Rural Economy)
Robert Summers (Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
John Brohman (Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University)
Tara McGee (Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Department
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Specialization

Date accepted
2009-07-16T16:14:59Z
Graduation date
2009-11
Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Doctoral
Abstract
Globalization and human-domination of the globe have increased the complexity, scope and pace of human-environment interactions in ways that have fundamentally reconfigured the opportunities and challenges for sustainability. As a result, what society needs from science has shifted. Society and scientists alike now call for new ways of doing science that can support decision-makers to confront the complexity and uncertainty of sustainability in today’s more globalized world. The research presented in this thesis contributes to answering this call. The goal of the research was to examine complexities in how globalization shapes the opportunities and challenges for pursuing sustainability. It was conducted in a region of the world where human-environment interactions have been fundamentally transformed by globalization: Latin America. The research used a two-tiered, qualitative case study approach to examine environmental policy-making in Costa Rica and land-use management in Costa Rica’s dry North West. It had three specific objectives: 1. To analyze how environmental policy-making in Costa Rica was influenced by the transfer of policy ideas between the international and Costa Rican political systems; 2. To trial a novel methodology for conducting qualitative land-use research that can support natural resource managers to pursue sustainability while maintaining a high level of scientific credibility; and, 3. To examine the specific processes of forest recovery and rural livelihood change in Costa Rica’s dry North West, and their implications for sustainability and forest management. This research makes three key contributions to our understanding of interactions between globalization, sustainability and complex social-ecological systems. First, it counters a tendency towards oversimplification in both theories and solutions for sustainability. It shows that neither generalized large-scale theories nor single blueprint solutions are adequate on their own to address the complex reality of environmental policy-making and land-use management in Costa Rica today. Second, it demonstrates how the potential of qualitative research to support natural resource managers can be more fully realized through methodological innovation. Third, it reveals important ways that environmental policy-makers and natural resource managers can avoid the pitfalls of oversimplification to more directly confront the complexities of pursuing sustainability under globalization.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3N94C
Rights
License granted by Blythe McLennan (blythe.mclennan@ualberta.ca) on 2009-07-14T20:22:54Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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File title: University of Alberta
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