Human Ecology

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 235–246

International, interdisciplinary research in ecology: Some problems of organization and execution. The case of the man and the biosphere (MAB) programme

  • Francesco di Castri


Ecological problems — because they involve interactions and interfaces — require for their solution a flexible, interdisciplinary approach. Ecological research can best be supported in an international, intergovernmental framework, but, at first sight, the requirements of such a framework may seem unwieldy to traditionally trained natural and social scientists. Experience acquired in implementing UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme indicates that it is possible to overcome the difficulties of conducting integrated research and to achieve internationally comparable results. The MAB Programme is a good example of both the potential and the limitations of integrated, international ecological research programs. There seem to be three imperatives for success: (1) research must be problem oriented, (2) the. unit selected for study must be sufficiently comprehensive and based on human use systems, and (3) research workers in various natural and social science disciplines and the administrative decision-makers must share responsibility for planning and execution.

Key words

interdisciplinary approach integrated ecological research international research 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco di Castri
    • 1
  1. 1.International Coordinating Council, Programme on Man and the BiosphereUNESCOParis

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