Environmental Management

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 289–297

The problem of scale in community resource management

  • Jefferson Fox

DOI: 10.1007/BF02400067

Cite this article as:
Fox, J. Environmental Management (1992) 16: 289. doi:10.1007/BF02400067


Scale is a fundamental variable in most community resource management programs. This is true both in terms of scale as a management concept (i.e., local, regional, and national level management) as well as a mapping concept (i.e., units on the map per unit on the ground). Julian Steward, the father of human ecology, recognized as early as 1950 that social scientists have failed to develop methods for incorporating the effect of scale in their work. This article seeks to determine whether methods used in plant and animal ecology for assessing the effects of scale are applicable to community resource management. The article reviews hierarchy theory and multiple scales, two methods (one theoretical and the other practical) for dealing with problems that span many scales. The application of these methods to community resource management programs is examined by way of an example.

Key words

ScaleCommunity resource managementGeographic information systemsHierarchy theory

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jefferson Fox
    • 1
  1. 1.Environment and Policy Institute East-West CenterHonoluluUSA