Variable: Organization

In the human ecosystem framework, organization is treated as a cultural resource, for it provides the structural flexibility needed to create and sustain human social systems. That is, the special ability of our species to create numerous and complex organizational forms is a necessary skill in interacting with nature and society (Wilson 1978).

It is a cultural resource because there is demonstrated wide variation among cultures in how these generic organizing skills are employed. For example, citizens of the United States are willing to create, continually and often, new organizations to deal with collective issues: building a water supply system (irrigation districts), managing education (school boards), caring for the poor (welfare societies), and so forth.

Organization can be measured by its diversity (the range of organizational types), intensity (the number of organizations), or saturation (the percentage of the population that claims membership).

Organization is critical to natural resource management; ecosystem management itself is an experiment in new ways of organizing the relations between human and nonhuman domains.

Additional information