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Methodological Reflections on the Use of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Science in Human Ecological Research

Methodological Reflections on the Use of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Science in... Environmental analysts increasingly utilize remote sensing (RS) and geographic information science (GIS) techniques to study the relationship between human societies and their biophysical environment. This paper considers the influence these techniques have had on environmental research. Using the case of the Sahel, the paper first relates contemporary applications of RS/GIS to the history of the environmental scientific practice in the region. While facilitating an expansion of spatiotemporal scales, applications of these new techniques continue the methodological failings of the past by relying on visual measures of environmental change and problematic indicators of human land-use pressures. The human ecology fields (human, cultural, and political ecologies), by emphasizing the causal connections between local management and environmental change, can address the problems inherent with the spatial analytical turn in environmental science. Using the author's experience with the use of GIS in a political ecology study of grazing management in western Niger, ways of more closely integrating RS/GIS techniques into human ecological research are discussed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Human Ecology Springer Journals

Methodological Reflections on the Use of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Science in Human Ecological Research

Human Ecology , Volume 31 (2) – Oct 11, 2004

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References (144)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 by Plenum Publishing Corporation
Subject
Social Sciences; Anthropology; Environmental Management; Geography, general; Sociology, general
ISSN
0300-7839
eISSN
1572-9915
DOI
10.1023/A:1023984813957
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Environmental analysts increasingly utilize remote sensing (RS) and geographic information science (GIS) techniques to study the relationship between human societies and their biophysical environment. This paper considers the influence these techniques have had on environmental research. Using the case of the Sahel, the paper first relates contemporary applications of RS/GIS to the history of the environmental scientific practice in the region. While facilitating an expansion of spatiotemporal scales, applications of these new techniques continue the methodological failings of the past by relying on visual measures of environmental change and problematic indicators of human land-use pressures. The human ecology fields (human, cultural, and political ecologies), by emphasizing the causal connections between local management and environmental change, can address the problems inherent with the spatial analytical turn in environmental science. Using the author's experience with the use of GIS in a political ecology study of grazing management in western Niger, ways of more closely integrating RS/GIS techniques into human ecological research are discussed.

Journal

Human EcologySpringer Journals

Published: Oct 11, 2004

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