Prior exam and discussion questions

The following are presented in no particular order.

(1) Agree or disagree with the following statement: in lesser developed countries (LDCs), degradation of environmental resources is a necessary consequence of economic activity. After you state and defend your position, suggest some long-term outcomes (environmental, economic) for people in LDCs.

(2) Aquaculture has been practiced for millennia, yet it is not as well developed as agriculture, nor is it as important a human institution as agriculture. Discuss the reasons why this is true and suggest how the contribution of aquaculture to world food supply could be increased.

(3)You are the director of the government's natural resources program on Oyster Island, an area of long-standing, traditional shellfisheries. Your charge is to see that the best possible uses are made of the area's natural resources while protecting these resources from damage. The proponents of aquaculture want to privatize underwater lands for production; the baymen oppose this on the grounds that these are resources held in common by all citizens.

Answer two questions about this scenario:

(a) If this is a democracy, what steps would you take as elected director of the governmental program, to resolve this conflict? Why?

(b) If this is a dictatorship, and you are in full control, what solution would you decree to resolve the conflict? Why?

(4) Explain the role played by self-interest in creating the "tragedy of the commons." Illustrate with examples from marine fisheries or coastal aquaculture.

(5) Changes in land tenure (ownership) led to substantive changes in agriculture in the 1700s. Have there been similar changes in aquaculture? Why or why not?

(6) Should developed nations pressure less developed countries to conserve their natural resources if conservation slows economic growth in the less developed country? Explain your reasoning.

(7) Thirty-four western hemisphere nations just signed an agreement to establish the Free Trade Area of the Americas. In a related action, the "CONCAUSA Declaration" was signed by the US and seven central American countries. You were given most of the texts of these agreements on Tuesday. Reexamine the Declaration of Principles and the CONCAUSA Plan of Action, especially the section on "environmental legislation."

Write a critical review of the environmental portions of the "Principles" and "Plan of Action." You may elect to review environmental sections of the full agreement, all subsections, all plans, or you may elect to focus on one or two specific areas. Whatever level you choose to work on, you should review the value of the goals of the agreement and the plans to achieve them. For example, are the goals worthy? Attainable? Will natural resources in these countries fare well under these plans?

(8) In the next fifty years, you will face the “tragedy of the global commons” - a classical and worldwide “no technical solution problem.” Increases in the human population will outstrip food supplies, and reduce environmental fitness to support current levels of food production. You can imagine many outcomes; few if any are positive.

In the space provided, either (1) explain why this scenario is not true, or (2) explain how you, personally, acting at a local level, will react to or prevent this situation.

(9) In both sessions of the Fish Banks Ltd board game, the fish populations were overfished. Name some actions that might prevent overfishing in the real world.

(10) On what bases did McCay say the New Jersey shellfishermen justified their acts of piracy?

(11) What characteristics of rural, atomistic societies make resource conservation difficult in these communities?

(12) Define “spawner sanctuary”

(13) Define “intensive aquaculture”

(14) The Holling model was described in the paper titled “Modeling Complex Ecological Economic Systems.” Holling proposes four basic functions common to all complex systems, and a spiraling evolutionary path through them. Put labels on the attached graphic to identify these four functions.

(15) Under what ecological circumstances might a public aquaculture program (a hatchery, for example) succeed or fail?

(16) Some suggest that cooperation doesn’t work in managing natural resources - that we must either privatize our resources or centralize management in a powerful government. If you had to pick one or the other approach - privatization or centralization - which would you pick for managing a long-standing, traditional shellfishery on the US east coast?

(17) Marx and Engels (cited in the Tisdell reading) proposed that technological progress would fuel increases in production, resulting in unlimited economic growth, overcoming the limits imposed by nature. Today, the notion that economic growth can sustained and unlimited is challenged from a variety of ecological perspectives. Identify and briefly explain several.

(18) Bailey suggested improved extension (advisory) and credit (financial) services as means to help small-scale producers of shrimp in Latin America. What set of problems was he trying to solve with this recommendation?

(19) Aquaculture is unlikely to satisfy the nutritional needs of the world's growing populations. Why? What contributions might aquaculture make to humankind?

(20) Describe how aquaculture and fisheries are interdependent.

(21) You are the director of the natural resources program on the south shore of Long Island, an area of traditional shellfisheries (remember the "Dutchmen on the Bay"). Your mission is to see that the best possible uses are made of the area's natural resources while protecting these resources from damage. The proponents of aquaculture want to privatize underwater lands for production; the baymen oppose this on the grounds that these are resources held in common by all citizens. In a democracy, what processes would you propose to resolve this conflict? If you could decree a solution to the conflict, what would be your recommendation?

(22) Define each:

a. Overfishing
b. Spawner sanctuary
c. Extensive aquaculture
d. Fully costed products
e. Overcapitalization in fisheries
f. A “no-technical-solution” problem
g. Maximum sustainable yield
h. Natural resource community

Course outline

Grading and requirements


Readings and resources

Discussion lists

Collaborative projects by previous classes: 1995, 1996 and 1998

Prior exam and discussion questions