September 17, 2007

Book Review - Parks and Carrying Capacity

Are we overusing our National Parks? What does this mean for our use and care of natural resources generally?

Parks and Carrying Capacity: Commons without Tragedy
Robert E. Manning
SB 486 .P83 M36 2007

This book begins by drawing on the work of Garrett Hardin, The Tragedy of the Commons, written in the 1960's. Hardin examines what happens to "common use space" when no one is directly responsible for its care. It is from this study that the concept of "carrying capacity" was developed. Manning extends this work by providing case studies and multiple analysis methods to determine the carrying capacity for National Parks. Based on a belief that these parks are intended for use, he puts forward a series of alternatives that can be used to manage National Parks, making them a sustainable resource. Toward the end of this study, Manning broadens his discussion to all environmental and natural resources. Using National Parks as a case study, Manning suggests that all resources can be analyzed to determine their capacity for use and argues that it is necessary to determine mutually acceptable ways to make other resources sustainable as well. This provacative book includes sample analyses and an extensive bibliography.