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The Concept of Naturalness     |     home
        Title Page, Abstract, Acknowledgments           |           Table of Contents                 |              Introduction           |             Literature Review Part A: Cultural Aspects of Naturalness          |               Literature Review Part B: Ecological Aspects of Naturalness        |          Case Study          |             Conclusions and Recommendations          |              References Cited      

        Title Page, Abstract, Acknowledgments        





THE CONCEPT OF NATURALNESS
IN NATURAL RESOURCE AND ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT


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A Thesis
Presented to
The Graduate Faculty
Central Washington University


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In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree
Master of Science
Natural Resource Management


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by
Richard J. Haydon
March, 1997


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ABSTRACT



THE CONCEPT OF NATURALNESS
IN NATURAL RESOURCE AND ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT

by

Richard J. Haydon

March, 1997


A study was undertaken to explore the concept of "naturalness," as it is applied within the field of natural resource management. The project initially approached this issue through a two-part literature review: in the first part, philosophical, historical, and social factors which have shaped contemporary conceptions of naturalness were examined; in the second part, related concepts and terms, specific to ecology and the management of natural resources, were also reviewed, particularly from the perspective of the Ecosystem Management framework. Both portions of the literature review established a context for understanding "naturalness" as a concept which is at once important and widely employed, yet ambiguous and contentious.

In an attempt to address the problematic character of naturalness, a case study, involving an application of the Delphi method, was also undertaken. The study design sought to directly assess the opinions and beliefs regarding naturalness which are held by experts working in the field of resource management.

The case study found that, while some concepts related to that of naturalness emerged as being in general either more widely held than others, or more highly regarded in terms of their perceived importance, individual opinions were often quite disparate. Implications for resource management and the potential for misunderstanding and conflict are discussed, and recommendations are made to minimize problems inherent in the lack of a commonly accepted definition for such a fundamental concept.


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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS



This thesis is dedicated to my parents, Frank and Mary Haydon, both of whom died during the period of my graduate studies. Their love of both gardens and hiking trails, and the value that they placed on education, despite their own limited access to it, are perhaps the greatest gifts that they gave me. Special acknowledgment also goes to my friend, partner, and spouse, Lisa Therrell, for her patience, encouragement, and all-around wonderfulness.

Further acknowledgment goes to the Delphi group participants, who generously donated their time and expertise to the case study portion of this project. I would also like to thank Dr. Morris Uebelacker and Dr. John Ressler for their forbearance and encouragement with this thesis, with particular thanks to Dr. Ressler, to whom I am grateful for the depth of his commentary and the detail of his editing. Thanks are also due to many of my fellow students, especially Betsy, Lisa, John, and Clay, whose comments both inside and outside of the classroom kept me at times variously interested, awake, and amused.

Yet more thanks go to those who encouraged my notion of giving the academic scene another try, especially my "cholla-brother" Steve McConnell, as well as Mindy Sandler, Dan Davis, Sue Hart, Tad Buford, Rik Smith, Koren Burling, Dale Luhman, Bill Sobieralski, Susan Sater, Gary Cummisk, Steve Haydon, and, really, just about all the rest of my friends and family.


Thanks also to BVD, Pita, and Kodiak, for the much-needed study breaks and fresh air; to Stina for her organic pears, a substantial number of which I ate while writing this thesis; and to Noah Farnsworth, Trixie Visqueen, and Da Kobed, for their generally inspirational presence in my world.

Last, but certainly not least, an acknowledgment to the Clearwater, Norse Peak, Alpine Lakes, Henry M. Jackson, Boulder River, and Glacier Peak Wildernesses, places which have provided me with a means of earning blisters, backaches, and paychecks over the past eighteen years, and have allowed me extraordinary opportunities for puzzling over the "nature" of nature and culture, in places where the lines of demarcation are often both sharp and brittle.



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